Author Topic: Social workers in Finland have banned prayer by, and seized crucifix of  (Read 2407 times)

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Offline mike

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Son of Russian citizen Rimma Salonen, seven year old Anton, has been banned by social workers in Finland from prayer and crossing himself. They have also seized an Orthodox cross. Rima said Saturday to the Interfax news agency that before meeting with her son the social workers warned her not to pray with him before the meal, for them not to cross themselves, and that they had taken away Anton’s cross. Social workers also banned her speaking to her son in Russian during their meetings. "This present discrimination based on religion and language is a violation of our rights and has reached the level of bullying" commented to "Interfax" the official spokesman for Rimma in Finland Johan Backman. In 2008, after a divorce from a citizen of Finland, Paavo Salonen, the  Russian woman had taken her son Anton to Russia. On April 12, 2009 the boy's father kidnapped the child and with the assistance of staff of the St. Petersburg Consulate General of Finland who secretly brought him, in the trunk of diplomatic car, from Russia. Russia has opened a criminal case against Paavo Salonen.

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Offline Orest

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Mike, it is not fair to report only one side of the story.  The Russian side makes it appear as if it is a religious issue rather than child custody:
Rimma Salonen gets suspended sentence for child abduction
Mother ordered to pay son EUR 20,000

 Rimma Salonen
 print this


Tampere resident, Russian-born Rimma Salonen was found guilty on Tuesday of illegally taking her son to Russia, away from her Finnish former husband, and keeping him there for over a year.
      Tampere District Court saw this as unlawful isolation of the child from his own environment.
      During his absence, the four-year-old Anton lost his ability to speak Finnish.
      The court found that the boy’s normal living environment was to be with his mother and father in Kokemäki and Tampere under a joint custody arrangement.
In the spring of 2008 Rimma Salonen secretly took her son, without the permission of the father Paavo Salonen, to Russia, a country to which the son had no ties other than the fact that his mother was from there.
      She kept the place where the boy was living a secret from the father for several months. However, Paavo Salonen found the boy in Nizhni Novgorod.
      At that time, Rimma Salonen tried to acquire Russian citizenship for the son, using false information. In addition, the Russian security service, the FSB, had placed a ban on taking the boy out of the country, which led to his transport across the border in the boot of a Finnish diplomat’s car last spring.
The court decided on a suspended sentence of a year and a half for a number of reasons, including the fact that the illegal act lasted for more than a year.
      The boy was kept in a foreign country, and was only allowed to see his father three times. While Anton lost his language, the conditions that she kept him in were not seen to be poorer than usual. The court also took account of Rimma Salonen’s anguish and her psychological state.
      Rimma Salonen was ordered to pay her son EUR 20,000 in damages to compensate for pain and suffering. She was also ordered to pay several thousand euros to the father in investigative and court costs. She was found innocent of charges of embezzlement.
Rimma Salonen plans to appeal the decision. Her lawyer Heikki Lampela says that his client does not feel that she is a child abductor, as the child was with his mother all the time.
      The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) is still investigating the possible crimes committed by Paavo Salonen and the Finnish diplomat.
The news agency Itar-Tass reports that Russia is planning to demand the extradition of Paavo Salonen to Russia, where he could face charges.
      In Russia, Paavo Salonen is seen to have committed a crime by taking his son out of Russia illegally.

Previously in HS International Edition:
   Suspected child abductor Rimma Salonen released, banned from travel (4.8.2009)
   Something had to be done, says diplomat who brought abducted boy back to Finland (22.5.2009)
   Russian mother charged with abducting her son(16.9.2009)
   Russian mother of abducted Anton Salonen astonished at her treatment in Finland (19.8.2009)

Offline Orest

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Here is the story about the involvement of the Finnish diplomat in Russia:

Something had to be done, says diplomat who brought abducted boy back to Finland
Simo Pietiläinen tells Helsingin Sanomat of dramatic escape; Russia sends diplomatic note over incident
“No, there was no way they could have got back into Finland by legal means. I do not regret my actions.”
      Simo Pietiläinen, who brought five-year-old Anton Salonen and his father Paavo Salonen back from Russia in secret in the back of his car, stands behind what he did.
      The man sitting in a Helsinki hotel meeting room is a Finnish civil servant. Officially he is still an expert adviser on legal matters attached to the Finnish Consulate-General in St. Petersburg. Custody disputes are part of his brief.
Even if he is still officially on staff, there is apparently no going back to St. Petersburg for Pietiläinen.
      This has been made clear by both the Finnish and Russian authorities.
Things began to roll forwards just over two weeks ago.
      A complicated custody dispute had been festering for some time.
      The [Russian] mother in the case had acquired Russian citizenship for her son Anton using false documents.
      Two courts in Russia had quashed the decision and ordered that the citizenship papers be rescinded.
Then Pietiläinen heard some shocking news from Moscow.
      An immigration official in Nizhny Novgorod had initially declared the boy’s citizenship application invalid, but had then abruptly reversed the decision after a verbal request from the mother.
      “At that point I realised that the father and son were never going to get out of Russia and back to Finland by any legal means. Junior officials are not adhering to the decision handed down by the Russian courts.”
The Finnish father had come to Russia earlier in the spring to collect his child, a Finnish citizen.
      He traced the boy and in April he unilaterally carried out the terms of an earlier Tampere District Court ruling awarding custody to the father.
      In 2008 the mother had taken the child to Russia without the father’s consent and using forged documents.
      In spite of the Finnish court ruling and subsequent Russian court decisions, the father had been unable to get the child back to Finland.
Having taken the child, Paavo Salonen found himself in an awkward bind, as the boy’s mother had filed an official complaint with the Russian police. Even though the prosecutor in Nizhny Novgorod ruled that the father had done nothing in violation of Russian criminal law, he was still not permitted to leave the country.
      By the first week of May, Paavo and Anton Salonen had already been on the Consulate-General’s premises for three weeks, day in day out.
      The father’s tourist visa was running out, and the Russian officials would not grant him an extension. And now things were further compounded by the immigration official’s about-turn on the boy’s Russian citizenship, in direct opposition to a Russian court ruling.
The situation was intolerable. Paavo Salonen could not leave the country and yet he could not remain there legally without a valid visa.
      On Thursday May 7th, Paavo Salonen and Simo Pietiläinen discussed a way out of the impasse.
      The idea of smuggling the child out of Russia began to take shape.
      "Would I be guilty of a more serious offence by doing what I did, or in the circumstances, by doing nothing, and ensuring that two Finnish citizens are unable to get home?” says Pietiläinen of the thoughts that went through his head at the time.
The getaway trip began on the Friday evening. Paavo and Anton Salonen sat in the back seat of Pietiläinen’s dark-blue Audi station wagon.
      The car was afforded some protection by carrying red Russian diplomatic licence-plates.
      “I bought some chocolate and some soft drinks for the child, and off we went.”
Around ten kilometres before the border, the passengers clambered into the rear of the station wagon, conceunderneath the pull-out blind. “The boy was so incredibly plucky and cheerful the whole time it really was no trouble.”
      At the crossing between Russia and Finland the pressure built up.
      “We weren’t scared exactly, but definitely tense. I think that describes it.”
The Russian border officials were somewhat preoccupied, in that they were preparing for the celebrations of the following day’s anniversary of Victory Day (May 9th, 1945).
      Shortly after passing through the Vaalimaa checkpoints, Anton and Paavo crawled out from their hiding place.
      From Hamina they travelled onward in another car.
The journey from St. Petersburg took around two and a half hours altogether.
      Pietiläinen returned immediately to Russia, heading back to St. Petersburg the same Friday evening.
      A call came in from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs on the following Sunday, May 10th.
      “I was in St. Petersburg, washing the car. I was instructed to report in Helsinki that evening.”
“It was an OK meeting, but there were so many people present that I’d rather not say any more about it”, observes Simo Pietiläinen.
      Even though the incident stemmed from Pietiläinen’s own choice of course of action, in his view it contains the seed of a profound question about the relations between the two countries.
      “It cannot be that an individual civil servant or diplomat handles these matters on the basis of his or her personal conscience. There have to be some reliable ground-rules. My way of doing things cannot be the normal way of carrying on. I can see that perfectly well.”
      Pietiläinen’s fixed-term contract will be up for consideration roughly a year from now.
      "The Foreign Ministry will get my things brouught out of there [Russia]. I have not been dismissed. That’s about it.”, says Pietiläinen in describing his present position.


Helsingin Sanomat

Offline Orest

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The Russian government has branded an organization in Finland called "Pro Karelia" as anti-Russian.  Why because Pro Karelia is interested in the part of karelia that was taken from Finland after WW2 by force.

Another accusation by the Russians is that the Finns are allowed to view the documentary "The Soviet Story" which the Russians see as "Anti Russian".  The documentary is making its rounds through Canada.  Soemone at church downloaded it from the internet and now people are watching it here.  Canada like Finland is a democratic country.

Here is an example of "Interfax" news mentioning the documentary "The Soviet Story":
14 April 2010, 15:05
Finnish prosecutor demands punishment for a pastor who has criticized an anti-Russian organization
Helsinki, April 14, Interfax - Prosecutor of Mikkeli, a Finnish city, Ari Liikanen demanded to punish Juha Molari, Lutheran pastor, for "behavior unbecoming to a priest".

"Unbecoming behavior involved Molari's criticism expressed in his speeches and blog aimed at the anti-Russian organization Pro Karelia which demands to review the postwar borders and return the territory of Karelia to Finland," told the Chairman of the Antifascist Committee of Finland, associate professor of Helsinki University Johan Backman to Interfax on Wednesday.

According to him, Juha Molari also vigorously opposed the public show of an "openly anti-Russian film Soviet Stori organized by Pro Karelia."

Backman emphasized that the "activity of Pro Karelia contradicts the official position of Finland, and Molari had a full right to criticize it."

Despite this, Mikkeli's prosecutor demanded to issue a written warning to the priest.

Last week, it was reported the Finnish police has instituted criminal proceedings upon application of Juha Molari against Mikael Sturshe, sponsor and administrator of Kavkaz-Center, a website of Chechen militants.   
I haven't been able to find anything in the Finnish press to see if the above is true or not, but I quyote it because it shows the views of the Russians when anyone dares to criticize them.

Here is an analysis of "The Soviet Story" and reaction by the Russians from the "Pro Karlia" web site:
Edvins Snore


I am delighted that my film The Soviet Story is being screened in Finland. With respect to the Kremlin's accusations that the film glorifies Fascists, my suggestion is – “watch the film first, then you see for yourself what it stands for”.

The Soviet Story condemns Fascism/Nazism. It condemns concentration camps and it condemns mass executions. However, as we now know, that it was not only Nazi Germany who operated concentration camps.

It was the Soviet Union as well. It had the largest concentration camp system in the world. Millions were exterminated in those camps. After the war the USSR even used the Nazi camps (Buchenwald, Sachsenhausen) as part of its own camp system – the GULAG.

The Soviet Story calls for persecution of those NKVD/KGB officers who worked in the GULAG and who carried out horrific torture, mutilations and executions of thousands of innocent victims both before and after World War II.

Everyone seems to agree that during Stalin's reign horrible crimes were committed. Yet no one has been held responsible for those crimes. Did Stalin himself singlehandedly torture and execute millions of people? None of the former NKVD/KGB criminals who actually committed the killings have been tried in Russia. Why have they escaped prosecution, whilst Nazi war criminals have been tried?

One man who might know the answer is Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. He has worked in the KGB. People who carried out torture and executions in 1930s/40s were his older colleagues. They worked in the KGB up until 1970s and 1980s. He has surely met them in the corridors of Lubianka.

They were the ones who did the actual crimes; whose hands were spattered with blood, literary. Putin's predecessor, the KGB Chief Ivan Serov, for example, was awarded the Order of Lenin – the highest State decoration - for orchestrating the mass murder of 20 000 unarmed people in 1940.

Not surprisingly, this is too uncomfortable a subject for the ex-KGB establishment which is currently in charge in Kremlin, to come to terms with.

It makes them nervous, when someone brings it up (e.g. in The Soviet Story). It is too difficult for them to reply to the simple question - “Why not condemn NKVD/KGB crimes and why not try the criminals who committed them”?

The Kremlin’s reaction to the film has thus been somewhat hysterical – aggressive public campaign against the Soviet Story culminating in a voodoo-style burning of the film director's effigy in the streets of Moscow.

When the first wave of emotions was over, Moscow apparently came up with a more sober strategy. This strategy was very simple: to label everyone who disagrees with Moscow - a Fascist. An old and proven Soviet method.

During the course of 70 years all opponents of Kremlin sooner or later were labeled Fascists – be they in Finland, Poland, Latvia, Ukraine, Georgia, Lithuania, Estonia, Korea, or even Japan.

The Soviet Story also reflects a point of view which is not shared by the Kremlin. As a result, the film is labeled as Fascist propaganda as well (even if the film describes Hitler and Nazism as criminal).

“Anti-Fascists” from Latvia, Estonia and Finland have also continuously criticized The Soviet Story. They may be from different European countries, but one thing unites them all – they all speak fluent Russian and they travel to Russia regularly.

Until recently the Anti-Fascist slogans of these pro-Kremlin groups frequently succeeded to trick naive Western journalists. However, in 2007, the anti-Fascist committee of Latvia blew its cover by engaging in open collaboration with Russian neo-Nazis in Latvia.

Both organizations – the neo-Nazis and anti-Fascists - held a joint nationalist gathering “The Russian March”. The move, which was criticized by moderate Russian politicians in Latvia, demonstrated that “Anti-Fascism” was just a cover for radical Russian nationalists to push their agenda in the countries bordering with Russia.