January 6, 2010

Cruelty and neglect in Russian orphanages

This is an excerpt from an article entitled, "Abandoned to the state: cruelty and Neglect in Russian orphanages" by Kathleen Hunt, Human Rights Watch (Organization) published in 1998.  Although it's been over a decade, I don't think conditions have improved or changed much in the past decade:

Update:  In case you don't read the responses, an adoptive mom replied saying that things have improved since this post. That is great news! 

"Once officially labelled as retarded, Russian orphans face another grave and consequential violation of their rights around the age of four, when they are deemed "ineducable," and warehoused for life in psychoneurological internaty.  In addition to receiving little to no education in such internaty, these orphans may be restrained in cloth sacks, tethered by a limb to furniture, denied stimulation, and sometimes left to lie half-naked in their own filth. Bedridden children aged five to seventeen are confined to understaffed lying-down rooms as in the baby houses, and in some cases are neglected to the point of death. Those who grow to adulthood are then interned in another "total institution," where they are permanently denied opportunities to know and enjoy their civil and political rights."


  1. Things have changed a bit, in some areas of Russia. We brought our daughter home from there a little over a year ago. The rural areas are worse than the urban areas, but even if our daughter had turned four in the baby home, she would not have gone to an institution. They told us this. Most times if they are functioning at a certain level, they are moved up with the rest of the kids. So yeah, this article is a bit outdated ... however still possibly true for really low, low functioning kids ... perhaps outside of DS.

  2. Bethany, that is great news! I am so glad to hear that improvements have been made. Thank you for the insight and update.