Russian Dad Pleads for Putin to Intervene in Custody Fight

MOSCOW, June 7 (RIA Novosti) – A Russian father of four who moved with his family to Germany but then lost custody of his children is hoping President Vladimir Putin will help, Life News said on Thursday.

Yury Medvedev-Bernhardt’s children were put into an orphanage after their mother Olga Litvinenko left the family. Medvedev tried to take them out of Germany in a rented mini-bus but was stopped at the border. He is now suspected of stealing the vehicle.

“I am a good, loving father, and now is a very hard time for me as a parent and as a person,” Medvedev told Life News. “The children miss me and say in their letters that they don’t like it at the orphanage.”

He is only allowed to visit his children, two boys and two girls, once every two weeks in the presence of social guardians. During their 60-minute meetings, Medvedev can speak only German so that social workers can monitor their conversations.

“My daughter has been given male boots four sizes too big to wear at the orphanage,” he said.

He said the Russian consulate had made several inquiries but German authorities declined to respond.

“I beg you to give this letter to Vladimir Putin, the only person who can help me and my children return home,” Medvedev wrote in a letter to human rights defenders in Germany.

“There are no other options left. Plus, Vladimir Putin has already helped us,” Medvedev said, referring to an earlier attempt by the German authorities to deny social assistance to his family.

The human rights activists have already condemned the German officials’ actions “as a form of Nazism and racism directed against Russian citizens and their family members.”

“German authorities’ actions are a blatant violation of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities,” said Harry Murray, head of the Cologne human rights organization.

This is just one in a series of incidents involving Russian or half-Russian children in Europe and the U.S. The latest case took place in Norway, where a court on April 17 stripped Russian national Irina Bergseth of her parental rights and gave her five-year-old son to her Norwegian ex-husband, who had allegedly molested the boy before.

Russian children’s rights ombudsman Pavel Astakhov could not be reached for comment.

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