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Death of Adopted Russian Boy in Italy Sparks Outrage

Published: July 21, 2014 (Issue # 1820)



  • Children’s rights ombudsman Pavel Astakhov.
    Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The alleged killing of a five-year-old Russian boy by his adoptive Italian father has been met in Russia with mourning and calls for adoption reform, feeding an ongoing movement to keep orphans out of foreign hands.

Maxim Maravalle, last name Kichigin by birth, died on the night of July 17 in Pescara, Italy, according to a statement on the Russian Foreign Ministry's website. Several Russian media sources have reported that he was strangled.

"The crime was committed by the boy's adopted father — Massimo Maravalle, who was arrested by the police. Pescara's Prosecutor General has opened a criminal case against [him]," the statement said, citing information from the Italian government.

Maravalle is thought to have suffered from a psychological illness, a fact that, according to the Italian authorities, was never disclosed during the adoption process, which was concluded in 2012.

The Investigative Committee for the Amur region, where Maxim was born and adopted, has already opened a criminal case and is investigating members of the local government for "negligence in processing the [adoption] documents," as well as looking into the boy's living conditions in Italy, according to a statement published Sunday on the committee's website.

In a sign of the troubling direction the affair could take, the committee is also investigating the legality of the boy being sent abroad rather than into the care of Russian citizens or relatives.

Yelena Mizulina, a State Duma deputy and conservative moral crusader who was a driving force behind Russia's "gay propaganda" law, has meanwhile called for a probe into Italy's procedures for selecting adoptive parents.

"It is completely obvious that we need a thorough analysis of the entire procedure which exists in Italy for selecting candidates for adoption," Mizulina said, RIA Novosti reported.

The incident is all the more troubling given the fact that Italy is the leading destination for Russian children adopted by foreigners, she added.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Wednesday, Oct. 22


English teachers can expect to receive a few useful pointers today from Evgeny Kalashnikov, the British Council regional teacher, during the EFL Seminar this afternoon hosted by the British Book Center. The topic of today’s seminar is “Grammar Practice.”


Young Petersburgers will get the chance to jumpstart their careers at “Professional Growth,” a job fair and forum featuring more than 40 major Russian and international companies vying for potential candidates for future positions. The forum not only is a chance to network but also to learn more about the modern business world and to understand what it takes to get the job you want.



Thursday, Oct. 23


AmCham’s Public Relations Committee meeting is scheduled to meet this morning at 9 a.m. in their office in the New St. Isaac Office Center.


Sportsmen get their chance to stock up on all kinds of gear at the Hunting and Fishing 2014 exhibition starting today at Lenexpo. Everything from rods and reels to boats, motorcycles and equipment for underwater hunting will be on sale so that any avid outdoorsman can always be prepared.



Friday, Oct. 24


SPIBA’s ongoing “Breakfast with the Director” series continues today, featuring Tomas Hajek, Managing Director of the Northwest Division at Danone Russia. Hajek will be discussing collaborations between businesses from different cultures. The meeting is at 9 a.m. at the Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel and all who wish to attend must confirm their participation by Oct. 23.


Get your gong on at “Sounds of the Universe,” a concert at the city planetarium this evening incorporating six different gongs to create relaxing songs that will transport you upwards into the stratosphere. Tickets are 700 rubles ($17).



Saturday, Oct. 25


AVA Expo, the eighth edition of the event revolving around all things pop culture, returns to Lenexpo this weekend. Geeks, nerds, dweebs and dorks will have their chance to talk science fiction and explore a variety of international pop culture. Tickets for the event can be purchased on their website at avaexpo.ru.



Sunday, Oct. 26


Zenit St. Petersburg returns home for the first time in nearly a month as they host Mordovia Saransk in a Russian Premier League game. Currently at the top of the league thanks to their undefeated start to the season, the northern club hopes to extend the gap between them and second-place CSKA Moscow and win the title for the first time in three years. Tickets are available at the stadium box office or on the club’s website.



Monday, Oct. 27


Today marks the end of the art exhibit “Neophobia” at the Erarta Museum. Artists Alexey Semichov and Andrei Kuzmin took a neo-modernist approach to represent the array of fears that are ever-present throughout our lives. Tickets are 200 rubles ($4.90).



Tuesday, Oct. 28


The Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel plays host to SPIBA’s Marketing and Communications Committee’s round table discussion on “Government Relations Practices in Russia” this morning. The discussion starts at 9:30 a.m. and participation must be confirmed by Oct. 24.



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