Monthly Archives: May 2012


With the help of a no-nonsense Russian police officer and the attention brought by an investigative Russian journalist, the father was finally able to meet with the older three children earlier this month. The meetings were brief, and raise serious concerns about what the children are living through. That the meetings even took place, however, brought a sigh of relief to family and friends.

As to how this happened, the father asks that we convey his expression of gratitude:

“If a foreign parent ever finds themselves in my same situation in America or Italy, I can only hope that they will be treated with the same dignity, common sense, and intelligence of the Russian police lieutenant called to assist the situation at the children’s school. In five minutes, this single Russian police officer accomplished more for our children than any other high-level authority, institution, or religious official in any of the three countries involved these past several months.”

Developments leading up to the meeting

As reported by Le Iene (A version with English subtitles is available here.  Марианны Гринь – интервью итальянским журналистам русские субтитры), the father learned at the end of April that the children’s mother, Marianne Grin (Марианны Гринь), had removed them from the Chabad-Lubavitch institutions in which they had been living.

The office of the Children’s Ombuds authority for the St Petersburg region confirmed that three of them had been placed by their mother in a public school on the outskirts of the city (their third school change this past year in Russia), and the youngest apparently in a kindergarten in the same area.

Joy but concerns about the children’s future

The father went to the school to try to see the three older children.  A journalist following the case for a St. Petersburg newspaper provided some of the details of the events:

  • Help from Russian police.  It was a cold morning the day the father went to visit the children at the school, but the guards/administrators initially refused let him enter. With the aid of a Russian journalist following the case, the police were called, and a police lieutenant appeared within 30 minutes to ask what the problem was. “This father wants to see his children,” it was explained. “Why are you not letting him?” Asked the lieutenant. “Have his parental rights been suspended? Is he breaking any windows or kicking down doors? He is the father! Why are you treating him this way?”  The school administrators changed their approach and immediately said the father would be able to see the children as soon as the director arrived.
  • School accepts to arrange meetings.  The school director was initially cautious, especially since Grin had put a letter in the children’s file stating that “as the parent with Russian citizenship only the mother can make decisions about who they are able to visit, and that is only the mother and her colleagues.” (The letter does not say who there “colleagues” are.) After being assured of the father’s good intentions, however, the director agreed to organize meetings in the presence of the school psychologist.
  • Children being subjected to severe alienation and paranoia about family and friends.  The meetings with the children, which were brief, confirmed that the mother has used these past several months to frighten them and create resentment even against their grandparents and their little 2-year old cousin. The mother’s anger and paranoid fears, expressed through the children, was palpable. Two of the children refused to speak in English, merely repeating the mother’s accusations against the father in Russian, blaming him for forcing them to live in Russia. The children claimed the mother had to flee Italy because the father wanted to put the oldest “into an insane asylum” (manicomio), one of the bizarre lies that Grin had told different media in Russia. (None of which ever bothered to read either the court decree about the children or check the fact that institutions (“manicomi”) have not existed in Italy for over 30 years.)
  • Commitments to follow up. The school director was complimentary of the father’s calm approach and offered to continue to organize contact with the children.
  • But still no site of Ezra, the youngest.

Monitoring of situation by Russian authorities

After Grin’s alarming statements over the internet about the Russian court’s rejection of her request to domicile the children with her in Russia, the Ombuds office for the St. Petersburg region confirmed that they are watching the situation closely. They indicated having received letters of concern from the children’s family as well as from the members of the Mellersh family in England.  They also mentioned receiving international press inquiries.

The Ombuds office noted that Grin has been uncooperative with their efforts to arrange visits with the children and their father, and was found to have lied about their place of residence. That Grin now appears to be using the children’s isolation to alienate them from their family and friends is another important area of concern regarding the children’s well-being. The fact that her behavior in this regard had been well-documented in Italy provides further evidence of the damage the children suffer in her care.

Still, it was good

Despite the above, the father reports being elated at the contact. Progress was made, and the difficulties he found were not insurmountable. Rather, they are same as those encountered when Grin was documented as engaging in alienating behavior in Italy.  Experience shows the children will rebound as long as they know they are loved, and that they have not been abandoned by the father, their friends, or the rest of their family.

And the first steps are always the hardest.


Марианны Гринь – интервью итальянским журналистам (русские субтитры)

   На Марианны Гринь дала интервью итальянским журналистам.Так, женщина с очень правдоподобным изумлением опровергает слова о том, что в России сдала детей в интернат. А следом – директор этого интерната и одна из учительниц простодушно сообщают, что детки у них ночевали, питались, учились.

В конце, когда Марианна решила, что камера уже выключена, она вдруг сбросила маску. Только что лицо её сияло улыбкой. И вдруг оно резко искажается. Грязно выругавшись в адрес мужа, женщина говорит, что намерена увезти детей из России.

Video with Russian subtitles

English version: news program on abduction and isolation of the children

Here with English subtitles is the May 2, 2012 episode of Le Iene, showing:
  • The father’s desperate search for his children in Russia
  • Marianne Grin (Марианны Гринь) shown as an aggressive, compulsive liar, with each statement  in front of the children shown to be a lie (he own mother asks “why does she keep lying?”)
  • Rabbi Chaim Tolochinsky, director of the Chabad-Lubavitch orphanage who illegally isolated the children from their father and family, describes Grin as psychologically disturbed
  • Grin engages in abuse, alienating the children from the father on camera
  • Grin changes character when she believes she is off camera and admits her real plans:  “If that a–hole continues, we’ll move someplace else. I have the funds to do it.  So if he continues, ‘arrivederci’!”

Link to version with Russian subtitles is here:

Марианны Гринь – интервью итальянским журналистам (русские субтитры

Children in a vacuum

In today’s Huffington Post:

Children in a Legal Vacuum: International Child Abduction

“The recent case of the Grin/McIlwrath children highlights the numerous failings of the Russian authorities to work together with their Italian counterparts to protect the children involved. Grin, a Russian-born US citizen who was living in Italy, abducted her four children from their American custodial father in Florence. She travelled to Russia with the children despite Italian court rulings which removed her custody rights and indicated that the children were at risk if they remained with her. Her children have since been placed in Chabad-Lubavitch institutes/orphanages in St Petersburg at her request “for their own safety”.

“The plight of the children, who are fluent in both English and Italian, has not even been acknowledged by the Russian authorities. It appears that the obligation of the state to ensure their safety and well being, and contact with their family and friends in Italy in the US, has been completely overlooked since they have been moved into a new jurisdiction, despite the fact that Italy, the US and Russia are all signatories to the Hague Convention.

“Russian authorities have similarly done nothing to end the children’s isolation from family and friends, nor ensured they are safe from the risks identified in the Italian court proceedings.”

Alienazione Genitoriale blog parla del caso di Marianne Grin (Parental Alienation blog highlights episode of Le Iene)

English version below

The Alienazione Genitoriale blog parla del caso di Marianne Grin (Марианны Гринь): Alienatrice in TV:  “me ne frego”

Le Iene intervistano una madre, certificata come «gravemente disturbata», che ha sottratto i figli portandoli in Russia quando il tribunale li ha affidati al loro papà.

Il disturbo mentale traspare dall’intervista.

Appare chiaramente che la donna, avvocatessa, è una mentitrice compulsiva (racconta un mucchio di falsità, venendo smentita anche dalla propria madre “o è diabolica o è clinicamente malata”), che fa uso delle tipiche false accuse (accusare il padre di violenze già giudicate inesistenti) e che, davanti alle telecamere ed ai figli, le reitera per alienarli chiedendo al padre di “smettere con le violenze”!

Trattandosi di 4 bambini abbastanza grandicelli in balia da meno di un anno di questa madre, al momento sembra improbabile l’avvio di una PAS.

Ma certamente occorre che vengano protetti facendo rispettare la legge e rimediando al gravissimo errore del Tribunale, che avrebbe potuto impedire la sottrazione.


The Alienazione Genitoriale blog in Italy has reposted the May 2, 2012 episode of Le Iene about the father’s search for his children, and their cruel and abusive treatment by Marianne Grin to alienate them from him and family, as caught on camera.  The blog post is Alienatrice in TV:  “me ne frego” (Alienator on TV: “I don’t give a damn”).

Le Iene interview a mother, certified as “seriously disturbed”, who kidnapped her children and took them to Russia when the court awarded custody to their father.

Her mental illness appears evident from the interview.

It seems clear that the women, a lawyer, is a compulsive liar (she makes a series of false statements, contradicted even by her own mother who says her daughter is “either evil or clinically sick or both”) and uses typical false accusations (domestic violence allegations against the father that had already been dismissed as nonexistent). In front of the cameras and her own children, she repeats the false accusations in order to alienate the children from their father, asking him to, “stop with the violence”!

Given that these are four children all of a certain age who have been entirely dependent on this mother for almost a year, it seems improbable that this is only the start of a Parental Alienation Syndrome.

It is necessary to protect these children, by applying the law and remedying a serious mistake of the court, which permitted the kidnapping to occur in the first place.

“I will leave Russia!” Marianne Grin on TV, in front of children

The Iene TV show demonstrates how easy it is to expose false claims. Just check them.

On May 2, 2012, the hugely respected Italian investigative news program, Le Iene, aired a report on the children’s abduction by their mother, Marianne Grin (Марианны Гринь).

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.

Luigi Pelazza, investigative reporter for Le Iene in Italy

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.