New Commissioner for children’s rights in Russia: we do not want to continue a public debate on children

The Commissioner for children’s rights in Russia Anna Kuznetsova says she wants to start cooperation with the Finnish representatives of the sphere of child protection from scratch. She believes that with the help of active cooperation and dialogue to find a solution to any problems.

Pavel Astakhov, the predecessor Kuznetsova, remember Finns sharp statements, which concerned Finland and the attitude of officials of the Finnish social services to the children of Russian families.

Hot controversy about the removal of children

The so-called controversy about the removal of children is a long — standing issue in Russian-Finnish relations. These disputes usually involve issues of custody or removal of the child from the family, one of whose parents is a citizen of Russia.

Astakhov, in particular, advised Russian families not to travel to Finland, as Finnish officials can, according to him, to take away their children.

Anna Kuznetsova, the new Commissioner for the rights of children, does not want to comment on the statements of his predecessor. It focuses on their own work and forming their own line.

“Of course, you should always take into consideration the rules and laws of another country you are going to — with or without children,” she says.

Kuznetsova and Astakhov — very different people by nature. Astakhov is accustomed to the spotlight, often appearing on television a man always considers himself right. Kuznetsova is the same — feminine, soft and modest. She gives the impression of a man who achieves his goals without raising his voice.

Kuznetsova visits to Finland

Kuznetsov meets with his Finnish counterpart Kurttila Tuomas (Tuomas Kurttila) in Helsinki on 22 and 23 may. This is the second meeting of children’s ombudsmen: the first was held in Moscow in November 2016.

Within two business days Kuznetsova plans to get acquainted with the Finnish aspects of the protection of children and deal with family issues.

The Commissioner for children’s rights in Finland Tuomas Kurttila notes that the purpose of the visit Kuznetsova is the development of cooperation, training seminars with participation of specialists, exchange of experience and dialogue.

Kuznetsova focuses on the same issues. She wants to expand their experience and views. Anna Kuznetsova says that he would be happy working trip, if it is it will be able to learn something new.

“I’m looking forward to exploring the healthcare system in Finnish schools,” she says.

Positive expectations before the visit is really there, but at the same time present different complexity. Partly they lie in the difference of the legislation of the two countries.

In Russia, a child can be punished

Unlike Finland, in Russia is not prohibited physical punishment of the child. This feature in some cases is in Finland the reason for the removal of children from families, if the house in relation to them for using violence.

At Anna Kuznetsova’s six children. She says that sometimes it is even too kind a mother that never comes to mind to punish their sons and daughters.

“I, however, adhere to the Russian legislation. It clearly sets out the consequences of confronting people use violence against children.”

In Russian media there is a lot of false information about the activities of Finnish officials in respect of children from Russian families.

According to Kuznetsova, is a sensitive issue. In her opinion, the media can distort the truth, but the officials should strive to speak only about the facts.

“We need to focus on the truthful presentation of information and to adhere to professional values. Therefore, it is important to trust each other and maintain a constant dialogue.”

Cooperation without borders

A week before the visit Kuznetsova in Finland in the newspaper “Izvestia” published an article in which it was reported that Kuznetsov intends to sign with the Finnish side agreement on the protection of children’s rights.

The Finnish broadcasting company Yle reports she is laconic, with some countries well to enter into contracts, and with some better to look for other ways of cooperation.

According to Kuznetsova, the most important thing in international cooperation commissioners for the rights of the child, protection of children, families and childhood. In this issue she shares the opinion of his Finnish colleagues Tuomas Kurttila.

“During the last meeting we agreed that the protection of children there are no boundaries”.

Kuznetsov realizes that in the future are likely to occur in ambiguous and complex situations affecting individual family. She hoped that the difficult issues will be found through cooperation.

During a conversation with Anna Kuznetsova begins to seem that Russia has changed its tactics in respect of child protection issues from aggression to friendliness. This, however, does not mean that disputes will be reduced focus: just change the ways of their solution.