Orphan from Novosibirsk

10 April 2017

While live broadcasting in the program "Human Rights" on the Public Television of Russia (OTR) a woman appealed to the High Commissioner for Human Rights in the Russian Federation Tatiana Moskalkova. Ms. N. implored to look into a difficult situation that occurred with the girl under her supervision.

Life was not easy for Valentine (the name is changed) from her birth: her mother died young, her father died in prison. Her grandmother took care of Valentine. On her deathbed grandmother exacted a promise from her niece to look after a little child. Ms. N. became Valentine’s tutor.

The girl grew as a thriving child: in spite of the fact that because of the life circumstances she had not attended elementary school, Valentine made up for missed lessons and studied with the help of teachers and classmates with whom she was friendly. She successfully studied in an art school: played violin, danced and mastered circus art. As a teenager with a complex fate she, of course, had breakdowns: she could answer with a snarl to criticism.

All this started when the administration in the art school changed. New lords, new laws. The relationship between Valentine and the administration started badly.

In April of last year a displeased vice-principal seized the child by the arm and dragged down the hallway toward the door. As a result of these educational actions Valentine got bruises on the right shoulder, and a psychic trauma. Because of the stress she had to undergo treatment in a health center for two month.

The tutor took the situation to court under Article 116 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. The Article became decriminalized and the trial was terminated. Moreover, Ms. N. was pressed by the juvenile section of the police.

Tatiana Moskalkova contacted the Commissioner for Human rights in Novosibirsk Region with a request to help the girl and secure her against pressure. Nina Shalabaeva reacted fast: she herself visited the juvenile section, the art school, where a different story was presented: the girl was a provoker, and the tutor only wanted to get money for non-existent moral damage.

The court denied the tutor in getting compensation for moral damage. Ms. N. already gave up on all these and only asked the vice-principal to apologize to Valentine. However the teacher refused to do it.

The situation was complicated. The child’s future was at risk. The Commissioner requested all documents, expert and psychiatrist references. According to their conclusion, Valentine was a normal teenager without pathologies. Valentine was to study in art school for only three months, but how to do it when the conflict with the teacher was not solved?

Due to the Commissioner’s contribution, the guardianship started to give more attention to Valentine. Nina Shalabaeva is preparing a round-table discussion where Ms. N. is to come up with a concrete proposal on the issue of orphan rights protection. All attempts to send down Valentine for hooliganism and to punish the tutor for bad education failed.

It is hard to imagine how the case could have turned without the help of the Commissioner. It is disturbing that it is easier to change school rather than to defend child’s honor and dignity.

After the second trial, the tutor wrote to the Commissioner that she planned to get an experienced lawyer.

The decision is absolutely right: the Commissioner can interfere effectively only after the final judgement. The case is being monitored. The decision to send the Commissioner’s representative to the legal trial, if so required, is already made.

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