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Pavel Astakhov, Russia’s Commissioner of Children’s Rights Speaks Out Regarding “Certain American Psychologists”

August 14, 2011

Over a year ago, Jean Mercer wrote an open letter to Pavel Astakhov, Russia’s Commissioner of Children’s Rights.

Although he did not name names, as reported by Advocates for Children in Therapy, Pavel Astakhov, cited in an RT article is now speaking out against “certain American psychologists” who in his opinion are mischaracterizing Russian orphans who were internationally adopted in cases involving their egregious abuse. Who the expert witnesses were in that particular trial is unknown, but what he describes sounds like the unwarranted generalizations about these children that are being spread by a number of self-proclaimed international adoption “experts”. In response to the outcome of a recent case, he stated:

I also believe that the verdict [in the Lechinsky case] was too lenient. Unfortunately, this has become a trend: in half of all criminal cases involving mistreatment of Russian children by US adoptive parents, we are seeing rather lenient punishment, such as probation or release from punishment altogether. I know why this is happening; I’ve figured it out. Certain American psychologists are convinced that all Russian children, former orphans, are hooligans, liars, and at the very least suffer from attachment disorder. According to them, these children became this way while trying to survive in the tough conditions of the state foster-care institutions. And the defense, in these types of trials, makes sure they invite these specialists and experts to issue a testimony and make any corresponding conclusions. This was the case in the Leschinsky trial, and these experts are currently being recruited in the Michael Gizmor case concerning the rape of his 15-year-old adoptive daughter from Russia, Ksenia. This trend must be broken. I hope that this can be done with an international adoption agreement between Russia and the United States, which is expected to finally be signed this month.

The statement speaks for itself and since he makes such important points that bear repeating far and wide, I have chosen to basically duplicate what was already very well presented on the Advocates for Children in Therapy website, without further commentary at this time other than to say that more and more people in high places are becoming aware of the dangers of such unsupported beliefs about international adoption and it’s about time.

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