In Pelazza: Social Services in Russia, senior Iene reporter Luigi Pelazza flew to St. Petersburg to investigate the children’s living conditions in Chabad orphanages, their denial of contact with their father and family, and their isolation from childhood friends.
Pelazza interviewed Grin and let her speak. He then showed how each of her statements are plainly contradicted by official records, her own mother, and the people in Russia who have seen how she has treated the children since abducting them at the end of August 2011.
Pelazza also catches Grin showing why she was deemed an inadequate parent by the courts. With all four children seated in front of her, she makes false accusations of violence against the father and, despite Pelazza’s humanitarian entreaties, refuses even to let them see a video of his greetings. Still in front of the children, she makes a vulgar Italian gesture and states she “doesn’t give a damn” what the law says (“me ne frego!”).
Some of the highlights:
- Marianne Grin’s mother, Inessa Grin, looking vibrant and intellingent, is interviewed via Skype after Marianne claims her mother “has Alzheimers and lives in a nursing home in California.” Inessa complains that her daughter told the same lie 10 years ago, after she refused her daughter’s demand she sign a false declaration. Inessa expresses deep concern for the children, and fears over her daughter’s mental instability.
- After Grin denies having put her children into orphanages, teachers confirm the children lived in Chabad-Lubavitch run institutes “for children whose parents suffer from alcoholism and drug addiction”. They teachers also comment on Grin’s instability as a parent.
- Rabbi Chaim Tolochinsky, the director of the yeshiva/orphanage where Grin had abandoned her sons, says it is “evident” Grin has psychological problems and is “acting like a hunted animal”. He doubts she is able to provide basic care for the children.
- But the most unsettling and bizarre statements is from Grin herself, when believes the cameras are off. She bluntly confides her real plans, and they don’t include Russia: “If that a–hole [expletive] continues, we’ll go to another country. I have the financial resources, so if he continues, ‘arriverderci!’” And, again, all while she is seated in front of the children. As the court-appointed expert in Italy observed, Grin’s behavior is “pathogenic,” meaning she transmits her paranoias and disturbed version of reality to the children.
The Italian news program makes clear – through Grin’s own behavior – why the courts in Italy ruled her unfit to have custody of the children, and why Russian courts have so far been reluctant to second-guess that decision.