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Russian social workers seize woman's two adopted children after she undergoes elective double mastectomy

Meduza

Russian television is calling her the “Angelina Jolie of the Urals,” but Julia Savinovskih is no movie star. Earlier this month, social workers in Yekaterinburg seized her two adopted children, after Savinovskih had an elective double mastectomy.

State officials in the Sverdlovsk region have reviewed and upheld a decision by local social workers to seize two children adopted by Julia Savinovskih and her husband, according to an official letter Savinovskih shared on Facebook on September 29. The document states that a formal review found no procedural violations in the decision by local social workers, who determined that removing two adopted children in Savinovskih’s care was in the children’s best interests.

Savinovskih says local officials seized her adopted children after she elected to have a double mastectomy. She says she opted for the procedure after giving birth to three children of her own and breastfeeding each of them, which she says left her with a G-cup chest size, causing her physical and emotional pain.

In order to get a double mastectomy, Savinovskih had to undergo psychiatric evaluation, where she was found to be of sound mind. A doctor concluded that her wish to remove her breasts was founded. While preparing for the operation, Savinovskih created a blog on social media, where she wrote in the voice of a fictional transgender character who wanted to undergo sex reassignment surgery. She says the blog helped her prepare psychologically for her operation.

Because the case involves underage children, Yekaterinburg social workers have not revealed the specific reason for seizing her adopted children, but sources tell local journalists that her two-room apartment was dirty and full of dogs. Savinovskih says the social workers visited her just after the family returned from a trip to the countryside, before the family could tidy up and take care of its dogs.

Social Protection Ministry officials say Savinovskih has to right to challenge their decision in court, but a city judge in Yekaterinburg has already rejected one lawsuit, without offering a clear explanation.

Savinovskih says ministry officials told the court that she is mentally unbalanced, presenting her medical records, including hospital discharge papers after her double mastectomy and her psychiatric evaluation for transsexualism. “Transsexualism in Russia is considered a mental disorder, and so they believe I’m mentally unbalanced,” Savinovskih told reporters. She says she will appeal the decision in a higher court.