Child seized from Russian mother in Finland

Finnish child welfare services have taken a child away from a Russian mother.

"The Finnish authorities seized seven year-old Roman from Lyubov Vlasova right at school on the grounds that Lyubov, according to their sources, drank red wine at home," Finnish rights campaigner Johan Backman told Interfax.

"Lyubov is a typical Russian immigrant who lives in Helsinki, speaks the Finnish language and works as a tutor at a childcare center. No one has ever complained about her," he said.

Lyubov drank red wine with her friend at home a week ago. The man struck her after an argument, when the children were asleep.

"Police wrote in a report after arrival that Lyubov had drunk wine. A few days following the incident Lyubov's son was seized by child welfare services right at school without an official order, or court warrant. The woman was informed that the boy had been handed over to a Finish family, but nothing was said to her about when her son would return home. Both the mother and child have Russian passports. Lyubov turned to Russia for assistance," Backman said.

"Finnish laws allow seizure of children without a stated reason, without an inquiry and without a court order merely on the basis of social workers' objective opinion," he said.

"As a result, many of the Russian parents living in Finland have lost their children. In the case of Lyubov and Roman, no child abuse was involved. If a man strikes a woman, the man must be punished, not the child or his mother," Backman said.

Russian Children's Rights Commissioner Pavel Astakhov said the new child seizure case in Finland will be monitored and a report on it has been referred to the Rusian embassy in Finland.

"The Office of the Children's Rights Commissioner has started an inquiry into the seizure of the seven year-old boy Roman from his mother Lyubov Vlasova, who is a Russian citizen. The Russian embassy has been informed. The incident has been brought under control," Astakhov wrote on Twitter on Monday.

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