Nov 2, 2010

One voice - Pray for Artem


Ever since I have been researching Russian adoption and the situation of the Russian orphans, I feel like Alice, falling down the rabbit hole. Not a happy wonderland hole, but the nightmarish reality that used to be my homeland.
This is not a happy post, but a grim reminder that Russia, as much as it pains me to admit - has not changed much since the Soviet days. Things change on the outside, but on the inside - it's dark and grim, where the rich and powerful have control over the weak and poor. Wait this has not changed since before the Revolution, I guess.

I would like to tell you about a young man named Artem. He used to live in in a Orphanage - he is an orphan. He found out from other orphans that one of the 13-year old boys in it was raped by a group of older boys. He found one of the rapists and beat him up. Ever since then, his life has become a living hell (as if it was not so already) - he was accused of various things, threatened, beaten. He tried bringing the case of rape to the director of the home, to law enforcement, but the case was "forgotten" - no one wanted anything to come up to the public.

He continued to persist trying to bring the rapists to justice. A minister of Children Rights heard of this and looked into the case, but from the sound of it - not much was done. As Pavel Ostahov (the minister) said :"It is difficult to find proof and facts in such a situation."
Right now the governor of the region, where the Orphanage is is looking into the case.

On his Lifejournal the boy tells almost daily of what the life is like. But his main purpose now is to let the orphans voices be heard across Russia - via internet, because no one nears or sees them otherwise.
If you speak Russian, please visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0_3PD5opUZg&feature=player_embedded.

Currently Russian orphans:

- Have no rights whatsoever. Until they are 18 years old, they remain under complete control of the director of their home, who decides their fate and their life.

- Majority of the "graduates" become criminals, homeless, drug users, prostitues.

- Staggering amount of them have no prospects, skills or hope to ever have a normal life, normal job, or a normal family.

- Large number of "graduates" commit suicide.

- If they become the victims of any crime - they are helpless. Law enforcement does not care at all what happens, and majority of the cases are not even heard of outside of the walls of the Orphanage .

- Majority of the homes have very little resources or financial ability to provide adequate health or even necessities like food, hygiene items, or education to their children. Theft of the money and supplies from Orphanage's is quite frequent.

- Orphans papers falsified quite often, and healthy children are marked as ones with mental problems (even though they are perfectly fine) in order to cover their asses in case of negligence, or rape, or even death. They can always say - see, the child is crazy!

- Orphans documents falsified, and healthy children are marked as sick to prohibit foreign adoption - the kids could be basically sold unofficially to someone else for more money.

- Orphans with health problems - their health issues might not only be undiagnosed, but sometimes covered up, just to get rid of them.

- Sometimes unstable, violent, or simply loud children are given injections to make them quiet. Pretty much like mental patients in the beginning of last century.

- Orphans are returned back from their (Russian) foster parents quite frequently, because the government doesn't not educate nor provide adequate financial compensation for housing them.

- Currently Russia have little to no laws, regulation and processes for fostering or adopting children. Government basically does not oversee it, and that makes inter nation adoption that much harder.

- The news keeps hammering Russian people with stories of Russian adoptees being murdered or sent back (the case a couple of years ago). These scare tactics bring out a knee-jerk reaction to stop adoption program to the US. Currently this matter is under the review.

- There are more orphans in Russia now than there were after WW2. And if you know anything about WW2 - that is a staggering, frightning number.

Artem is at war with the Orphanage where he became privy to the horrible crime against another orphan. He has been going to the Milia and the court for the past 6 months, trying to get justice for the rape victim and other children in that place, but more importantly to get the lawmakers to change laws for the orphans. To give them voice and rights the same as all human beings.

He has a gradnma, with whom he lives now. But he is still fighting. Sometime it takes just one voice to make a difference. I don't know what to do to help. The boy does not ask for money, or any kind of material help. He only wants to change the world.


I call all to pray for him, for protection and strength. He is just a kid, but he has a heart of a warrior. And he has seen things that I cannot even fathom to exist in a country that claims to be civilized. I would also like to call to pray that his plea would be heard and the laws will change to protect those who right now are without any voice or hope of protection.

1 comment:

Kim Foo Young said...

Oh man anna - my skin is crawling right now with this. I will indeed pray for artem. thanks for bringing this into the light.

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