Today, the Moscow City Court has put to rest the notorious case of little Sasha who had lived in a perinatal centre for six years from the day she was born.
To recap, in May 2020, child protection services, aided by Attorney Victoria Dergunova and the Charity Foundation “Volunteers to Help Orphans”, managed to restrict the parental rights of the girl’s parents, Mr Zinkin and Ms Maksimova, in court, which allowed to release the child from the hospital to a foster family, where Sasha lives to this very day.
This extraordinary case seemed to have been closed on 17 January 2022, when Victoria Dergunova, Attorney, Partner and Head of the Family Law practice at BGP Litigation, representing the girl’s guardians, convinced the court to strip the girl’s biological parents of their parental rights. The court agreed that, in view of the parents’ actions, endorsing the legal relationship between them and the child would not serve the girl’s best interests and would threaten her well-being; hence, it decided that it would be better if the girl stayed with a foster family.
The parents, however, did not agree with the decision and sought to challenge it. Today, at the Moscow City Court, Victoria Dergunova has managed to secure the court’s refusal to satisfy the appellate petitions filed by the parents. That means that the decision to terminate the parental rights of Mr Zinkin and Ms Maksimova has entered into legal force and the guardians are free to adopt the child.
“We are happy that the court has made a decision in Sasha’s best interests and that its opinion as to what those interests are coincided with how we saw them.
“We believe that it is only in her guardians’ family that the girl has found loving and caring parents. It is there that Sasha has found support that will help her overcome the trauma and stress that she as a child had suffered in the first six years of her life, when she lived at a hospital in total isolation and exclusion.
“The massive leap in development and social adaptation that this girl has demonstrated in just a year spent with her guardians speaks for itself – back in spring of 2020 nobody could even imagine that at seven she will not only be ready to go to school, but will also get excellent grades and find friends. That was our main argument in the dispute and the court accepted it.
“Our second argument for terminating parental rights was the birth family’s current behaviour: they never changed their attitude towards the child, have not expressed any interest in their daughter’s fate since the restriction of their parental rights, having completely removed themselves from her upbringing, with the sole difference that previously, they had been throwing their parenting duties on the medical staff, as they have now on the guardians.
“Divesting the birth family of parental rights was the only lawful and possible way to put Sasha up for adoption by her guardians and protect her from the utterly arbitrary child-rearing methods of her biological parents that effectively consisted in emotionally cruel treatment of the girl that has already inflicted enormous harm to her life and childhood. Now that it is done, we no longer need to worry for the child’s fate and can rest assured that this story has ended well,” Victoria comments.