Russian diplomats and special services are trying to return to Russia a 12-year-old boy who has been living for several years in the Dominican Republic, presumably after being abandoned by his Russian adoptive parents.
"Officers of Russian security agencies, along with Interior Ministry officials, are now charged with returning a 12-year-old Russian to his homeland," a high-ranking source in a Russian security service told RIA Novosti.
There is no official word on how the child, born in 1998, managed to find his way to the Caribbean nation some 9,000 km (5,500 miles) from his homeland. He was adopted in 2003 and has been in the Dominican Republic since 2005.
The security source said that according to unconfirmed reports "the boy was sold by a drug lord," and his adoptive parents are now in custody in Russia pending an investigation into cocaine trafficking.
"Unfortunately, the absence of direct diplomatic relations with the Dominican Republic hampers this process [of returning the boy to Russia]. However, several Russian representatives managed to talk with the boy," he added.
"The boy's condition is excellent, I visit him quite often," Virginia Velasquez de Simo, Russia's honorary consul in the Dominican Republic, said in translated comments on Russia's Channel One.
Russia's ombudsman for children's rights Pavel Astakhov told RIA Novosti that he was ready to “personally” take the child to his home country. However, he said, Russia’s child protection services had not prepared the documents requested by the Dominican side.
“Regional child protection bodies have failed to prepare the necessary documents, which specify where he is being taken and in what conditions [he will live]. Without such papers the Dominican Republic has full authority to keep the child,” he said.
Vesti FM radio said the boy, identified as Diego Sollogub, was adopted from a southern Russian city of Kalach-on-Don. Later the adoptive family took the child to the Dominican Republic and returned to Russia, where they were detained by Russian police on suspicion of drug trafficking. After a while, a Dominican family caring for Diego took him to a local orphanage.
"In January 2009 they [the adoptive parents] were deprived of parental rights, the adoption was canceled and the boy received the status of a child without parental care. He is currently in an orphanage in the Dominican Republic and our vice consul in Venezuela keeps in touch with him," Astakhov said on Vesti FM.
Investigators said the adoptive parents did not transfer the boy to a Dominican family, but sold him for drugs. Channel One reported he was taken to an orphanage by local authorities shortly after they discovered that he was being beaten.
"The child was given in payment for drugs, which were smuggled from over there," said Yelena Kiselyova, a senior Federal Drug Control Service investigator.
The latest scandal over the adoption of a Russian child abroad comes as the Foreign Ministry announced that all adoptions of Russian children by U.S. parents had been halted until a bilateral agreement on the practice was signed.
The suspension was prompted by the case of a 7-year-old Russian boy who was put on a plane to Russia last week by his adoptive family in the United States.
MOSCOW, April 15 (RIA Novosti)