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Diplomatic Spat Over Boy Taken To Finland

Published: May 19, 2009 (Issue # 1475)

Finlands Foreign Affairs Ministry officially confirmed on Friday that five-year-old Anton Salonen, the son of Finnish citizen Paavo Salonen and his Russian ex-wife Rimma Salonen, was currently in Finland.

It also confirmed that an employee of the General Consulate of Finland in St. Petersburg helped the father to take the boy out of Russia.

The incident occurred in early May, when the boys father took him out of Russia against the will of Antons mother with the help of the Finnish diplomatic employee, causing serious tensions between the upper diplomatic services of the two neighboring countries last week.

Russian officials said that the fathers actions were illegal, while the Finnish diplomats said that it was Antons mother who had initially taken the child illegally out of Finland.

The Foreign Affairs Ministry of Finland confirms that the Finnish child, who was illegally brought to Russia in March of 2008, and his guardian are currently in Finland, read a report on the web site of the Finnish Consulate in St. Petersburg.

The ministry received information about the return of a boy with the Russian name Anton and his father to Finland on May 9, according to the report. They crossed the Russian-Finnish state border in a private transport vehicle belonging to a representative of the General Consulate of Finland in St. Petersburg. The consulate employee was acting on his own initiative because he didnt see any other way of solving the drawn-out, complicated situation, it said.

The Foreign Affairs Ministry of Finland received confirmation of the participation of the consulate employee on May 10. According to the report, the ministry believes that the motive for his action was the interests of the child and the situation of his guardian.

The employee is also currently in Finland, and since there are no pre-existing conditions for him to continue his work in St. Petersburg, he is not coming back, the report said.

The General Consulate of Finland in St. Petersburg also confirmed on Friday that Anton and his father had received help from the consulate for two weeks before they left for Finland.

We let them live in a small apartment that belonged to the consulate, and dine at the consulates cafeteria, said Olli Perheentupa, Consul General of Finland in St. Petersburg, in a telephone interview with The St. Petersburg Times.

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Thursday, Oct. 30

Dental-Expo St. Petersburg 2014 concludes today at Lenexpo. Welcoming specialists from throughout the federation, the forum is an opportunity for dentists to share tricks of the trade and peruse the most recent innovations in technology and equipment, with over 100 companies hocking their wares at the event.

Friday, Oct. 31

Put your grammar and logical thinking to the test in a fun and friendly environment during the British Book Centers Board Game Evening starting at 5 p.m. today. The event is free and all are welcome to attend.

Saturday, Nov. 1

The men and women who dedicate their lives to fitness get their chance to compete for the title of best body in Russia at todays Grand Prix Fitness House PRO, the nations premier bodybuilding competition. Not only will men and women be competing for thousands of dollars in prizes and a trip to represent their nation at Mr. Olympia but sporting goods and nutritional supplements will also be available for sale. Learn more about the culture of the Indian subcontinent during Diwali, the annual festival of lights that will be celebrated in St. Petersburg this weekend at the Culture Palace on Tambovskaya Ul. For 100 rubles ($2.40), festival-goers listen to Indian music, try on traditional Indian outfits and sample dishes highlighting the culinary diversity of the billion-plus people in the South Asian superpower.

Sunday, Nov. 2

Check out the latest video and interactive games at the Gaming Festival at the Mayakovsky Library ending today. Meet with the developers of the popular and learn more about their work, or learn how to play one of their creations with the opportunity to ask the creators themselves about the exact rules.

Monday, Nov. 3

Non-athletes can get feed their need for competition without breaking a sweat at the Rock-Paper-Scissors tournament this evening at the Cube Bar at Lomonosova 1. Referees will judge the validity of each matchup award points to winners while the citys elite fight for the chance to be called the best of the best. Those hoping to play must arrange a team beforehand and pay 200 rubles ($4.80) to enter.

Tuesday, Nov. 4

Attend the premiere of Canadian director Xavier Dolans latest film Mommy at the Avrora theater this evening. The fifth picture from the 25-year-old, it is the story of an unruly teenager but the most alluring (or unappealing) aspect is the way the film was shot: in a 1:1 format that is more reminiscent of Instagram videos than cinematic art. Tickets cost 400 rubles ($9.60) and snacks and drinks will be available.

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