A question many have recently asked: how is it possible that Russian authorities did not conduct a psychiatric evaluation of Grin immediately after her arrival in Russia? Have they done one since?
Several people have pointed out what should have been obvious to Russian authorities: that Grin arrived in the country as a result of a court-appointed psychological assessment in Italy that found her to be suffering from “paranoid delusions” and to represent a danger to her children, exhibiting “bizarre” behavior when they were in her care.
Also, unlike others who abduct children to Russia, Grin lacked any family ties in the country or close friends to rely upon there. In fact, she had in recent years severed relationships with all immediate family, most of her friends in the US and Italy, and the Jewish Community of Florence.
The Danger Signs Continue to Mount in Russia
And, perhaps most disturbingly, Grin has shown she will engage in dangerous and reckless behavior in Russia, including:
- seeking broad publicity for false accusations that could easily be disproved (which occurred in March, the first time a Russian journalist attempted to verify her claims);
- showing cruelty towards her own children by keeping them in isolation from family and friends (also in violation of Russian law), and her abandonment of them for several months to Chabad-run orphanages;
- lying to authorities about the place where the children were living, taking them out of the orphanages for part of a day when called by Russian social services, pretending to live in an apartment belonging to the family of a wealthy Russian friend, Vladimir Klimovitsky, on Nevsky Prospect;
- making bizarre public declarations in recent week railing against the Russian judge and Russian justice; and
- allegedly engaging in serious criminal conduct: as the Fontanka (St. Petersburg) newspaper recently reported, Grin may have committed insurance fraud in Russia, procurring thousands of dollars from her insurer for services that were never rendered (by a non-existent psychiatrist) in St. Petersburg.
The common question is, what have the Russian authorities done to check on Grin’s mental state and capacity to care for the children? Even if she did not have four children in her care, her self-destructive, deceptive, anti-social behavior would shout for a detailed psychiatric evaluation.
Russian Psych Exam not Possible… Yet…
By all indications, Russian authorities and even the institutions that have dealt directly with Grin are not oblivious to her problems. In varying degrees, they appear to acknowledge that her behavior is extreme and cause for concern. The fact does not appear to be in doubt. The question is what can be done about it.
Unfortunately, as authorities have explained, under Russian law a psychiatric examination is not possible without Grin’s consent. Not only has Grin refused to submit to one, she has fiercely opposed even psychological counseling that the Chabad-run institutions recommended for the children while in their care, to reduce the stress Grin’s actions were creating for them.
The only way to force a psych exam in Russia is to request it in connection with a court proceeding, for example for the determination of the domicile of children or termination of parental rights. But because the Russian court has now rejected Grin’s application, there is no pending proceeding there in which to request a psychiatric evaluation. As a result, between now and when the children are returned to Italy, they remain at risk under the care of their mother, whose mental state and ability to care for them apparently cannot be assessed or verified in Russia.
Which takes us to the silver lining of an appeal. It is expected that Grin will appeal the April 12, 2012 decision rejecting her application in Russia. Should the court overturn the April 12 decision, it should then be possible to request in Russia a psychiatric exam and an evaluation of the entire family, including Grin’s bizarre conduct in recent months, and her isolation of the children for such a long time.