Andrei and Yevgeny had to flee from Russian officials who could’ve taken away their kids. While the two are married and legally adopted their two kids, Russian authorities have issues with their sexual orientation. The law clearly states that there is no possibility for gay couples to adopt children, so the pair had to take their children out of the country.
The couple spoke to DW about their experiences as a married couple in Russia. In 2016, they got married in Denmark, and they began the proceedings to adopt kids. Russian investigators opened cases against the representatives of the state agency where the couple adopted their kids from.
Andrei and Yevgeny were getting by as gay parents in Russia — until threats of repercussions got more and more sinister.— Richard Walker (@rbsw) August 12, 2019
They told DW their extraordinary story.https://t.co/TfivQVAN0q pic.twitter.com/rcIRbKKGV3
When Andrei first came to the state agency to adopt their first son, Denis, he ran into some problems regarding his eligibility. Usually, a person can only be denied a chance for adoption on the basis of health problems or criminal offences, and Andrei doesn’t have issues with either these factors. However, they questioned him on the basis of the confirmation of suitability certificate. The commission questioned why an unmarried man (under Russian law) would want to adopt a child. Even though he was able to get his confirmation 10 days later, Andrei believes that the prevailing perspective is that single men are not suitable to adopt a child.
The Russian law on homosexual propaganda turned the couple into criminals and social outcasts. Despite this, the couple did not teach their kids to be ashamed of their family. The accusations came when their second son, Yuri, was hospitalized. When asked when his mother was going to come get him, Yuri said he has two fathers. Investigators then sent for a forensic examination to check if Yuri was a victim of sexual assault, and they wanted to talk to Andrei.
A same-sex couple was forced to flee after Russian authorities threatened to take away their children. https://t.co/VMZxstdKvN— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) August 13, 2019
Not long after, the adoption centre asked them to put the children in a rehabilitation centre. Their lawyer advised that they leave the country, so Yuri and Andrei left Russia and got Denis not long after. A criminal investigation was opened, and Andrei is being threatened with a murder case. If he doesn’t present the authorities with his kids, then they’ll conclude that he killed them. This only solidified his resolve to leave the country; he could’ve been charged for seducing minors and his children would end up in an orphanage. Yevgeny also eventually left the country with the help of his friends.