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Russia Hopes U.S. Takes Adoptee's Abuse Claims Seriously

The Foreign Ministry hopes that U.S. officials are properly investigating a teenager's claims that his U.S. adoptive mother abused him.

Alexander Abnosov, 18, fled a Philadelphia suburb to his 72-year-old grandmother in the Volga River city of Cheboksary. He was reportedly on good terms with his adoptive father, who gave him $500 for his trip, but he said his mother was abusive and had forced him to sleep in a drainage pipe for several months.

"We are attentively following the situation surrounding Alexander Abnosov, who was adopted by the Salotti family in 2008 and needed to leave his adoptive parents and has now returned to Russia," the Foreign Ministry's Konstantin Dolgov, who deals with issues concerning human rights, democracy and rule of law, said in comments carried by Interfax.

"This case additionally confirms the necessity of ensuring effective control over the observance of the rights and legal interests of Russian children adopted by citizens of the United States," he said. We hope that "American federal and local authorities will begin to show this case the necessary attention in accordance with their international obligations."

Abnosov, who was known in the U.S. as Josh Salotti, was forced to live in the outdoor drainage pipe after his mother refused to allow a friend of his to live in their home, his adoptive brother, Sam Salotti, 19, told a local newspaper. He added that the parents had set strict rules that Abnosov repeatedly refused to comply with.

Neighbors confirmed that Abnosov and his friend, Ben, lived in the pipe. Abnosov later told Russian television that he resorted to stealing "in order to get some food."

Neighbor Joe Caine, 69, told the Philadelphia newspaper that for the "first time in 30 years, we started to lock our cars."

Several government agencies in Cheboksary told Kommersant that, since returning to Russia, Abnosov had been offered state assistance but was unwilling to take it.  

In December, Russia banned U.S. adoptions of Russian children in what critics said was retaliation for a recently passed U.S. law designed to punish Russians accused of human rights violations.

Contact the authors at i.nechepurenko@imedia.ru and p.spinella@imedia.ru

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