Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Dead Russian Adoptees: The White Book-- Russian resource on murdered Russian adoptees in the US

 White Pqper (Book):Victims of Foreign Adoption is a Russian web source on the abuse and deaths of Russian adoptees in the United States and elsewhere.  It includes an English language translation The English, though,  seems to be done by bot and it's not totally reliable,  (ex. White  Book translates as White Paper) but gives a good idea of what is in the original.

I was unaware of this site until tonight. It appears to have gone up in February 2013 and is operated by . Click the  Persons tab and you'll find documentation of each Russian adoptee  death in the US. I have documented these cases on  Bastardette and  collected them on  my Nikto Ne Zabyt webpage but the White Book includes some information about original names, birthplaces and regions of adoption that I don't have. I'll be fixing my data shortly.

I learned about  this page through a video posted on the English language version of Monday's Pravda  accompanying  an article entitled Western child  protection  destroys children's s lives, for once not about the US.  The video is, though..  It reminds me that the Cold War is back on wrapped in the the Russian flag.

The video includes an interview d Irina  Bergset, the chief editor at and founder of Russian Mothers. Bergseth   says there's a secret  a conspiracy afoot in the West  to  "appropriate" Russian children. (Berget, a Russian national, gained  quite a reputation in Russia after a Norwegian court removed her children from her custody and turned them over to her ex-husband in Norway who she claimed is a pedophile. She's made some pretty strange accusations about child welfare and Russian adoptions  I'm not sure what to make of her and I don't have time to delve into it.)

Another woman, Svetlana Smetania,  identified as a "observer of Pravda" whom I've also located as a reporter for Russia Beyond the Headlines, (who doesn't like the US  so much)  claims:

The principles of the American way of education include all children from Russia should be treated, in a very specific way.  They should be rolled up in a carpet  and adults should sit on top of them crushing them with their weight. In America this is a very common way to treat foster children.

Other therapies include  forcing "foster children" to live in dog houses and dig their own graves in the backyard  "on the advice of experts."  I suspect she's referring to Michael Pearl (or some iteration of him) who is only considered  n "experts" his  knuckle dragging christo-fascist fans,  The Pearl manifesto "How to Raise Up a Child" and other attachment  therapy books have been found in the homes of three four forever parents of murdered children, but to say that these "therapies" are common is misleading.  (.See my The Therapeutic Murders of Candace Newmaker, David Polreis, Viktor Matthey, and Jessica Albina Bennett.

No one. of course,  can deny the  gross  mental and physical abuse inherent  in attachment therapy  It has  come under close scrutiny lately, and extreme "treatments." such as rug rolling  are  widely  condemned.  After the death of  Candace Newmaker during a "therapy session"  in Colorado, the state outlawed the practice and sent the therapists to prison.

The video reeks of propaganda due to it's informants, Bergset and Smetania who have their own battles going, but that doesn't negate  the truth of it either or  the usefulness of White Book, Russia, however, is not the paragon of child welfare that it pretends to be, and it would be most helpful to shine a light on itself while shining the light on us.  Both countries are leaders in child abuse.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Yana and Toli Kolenda: Two Murdered Russian Adoptees You Don't Hear About

Lately I've seen claims that 20 Russian adoptees have been killed by their forever families.  That sounded a little high to me so I went back and looked in the extensive files I keep for  Nikto Ne Zabyt-Nichto Ne Zabyto--Nobody is Forgotten-Nothing is Forgotten  There are indeed 20 Russian adoptees that we know of who have been murdered by  abuse or neglect. in the US, but the  "official" count is 17 (though that can be disputed due to a couple of acquittals, even if the evidence showed otherwise)  because the deaths of the other three do not follow the pattern of  Russian adoptee murders. Their deaths had nothing to do with their adoptive status, nor were they abused, neglected, or isolated from the community.

 On October 20, 2002, Yana and Toli Kolenda, more than five years after their adoption, and their adoptive mother Gienia,  were murdered by their  depressed  out-of-work adoptive father Richard Kolenda who then committed. suicide.  In 2010 Kirill Kazankov, (adopted name Jackson Atusso,) 8 was brutally murdered by a teenage stranger during a family outing. Neither the Russian government  nor media has cited these cases in their condemnation of the American adoption system. I am writing about the Kolendas tonight and Kirill Kazankov in a day or so.  They are not footnotes and deserve their own separate entries.. I will also add them to In Memoriam.
Yana Kolenda was born December 31, 1990 in Russia (unknown location).  Her brother, Anatoli, was born May 20, 1991 in Russia (unknown location).  Their birth names are unknown. They were not biologically  related but, it appears they were adopted together from the same orphanage (unknown location).They lived in Westfield, Massachusetts when they died.

Yana was a 5th grade student at Holy Trinity School in Westfield,  where she was a member of the school choir. She attended  Daggett Gold Medal Gymnastics of Agawam.

Toli was also a 5th grade student at Holy Trinity and an altar server at the church.  He was a member of the Westfield Youth Soccer team.

Their adoptive parents Gienia Baczek Kolenda and Richard Kolenda,  a retired Air Force major, were both born in Poland. Richard came to the US in 1964 and attended college in Western Massachusetts. He had a Master's Degree, but his discipline  isn't published. The Kolendas had been married 23 years at the time of the adoptions and lived in Jacksonville, Florida.

IFlorida Times-Union  about National Adoption Awareness Month, Richard Kolenda,  described the adoption as a "tremendously positive experience" for everyone" Gienia said, I think our life is a lot more happy,'' It is complete.''
Gienia Baczek Kolenda
In a November 25, 1994 article in the
The article continues:

Knowing the condition of the Russian economy and the limited resources to help orphaned children, the couple said they decided to adopt two children who desperately needed a home and a chance for a future. ''In other countries it is terrible; there is no hope,'' he said. The couple had to choose the children, who were not related to one another, from photos and videotapes. They described the task as being the hardest thing they had ever done. ''You want them all, and you know you can't; you have to choose two,'' he said.

 The Kolendas were well known as cat rescuers.  A  July 9, 2001 article in the Florida Times Union  covered their work in saving and adopting out 150 stray cats on the Mayport Naval Station at that time over-run with an estimated 800 abandoned and feral cats. They reportedly spent $5000  of their own money on the project.

 The motive for the killings was not "officially" determined but it's clear that finances were the issue.

Kolendas at the GNC store
After retiring from the Air Force, Kolenda invested his life savings in a  General Nutrition Center franchise in Jacksonville, which he operated for 4 1/2 years. In December 1999, he closed the store and  with other disenchanted GNC franchisers sued  GNC, in a very public dispute  over what they claimed were unfair business practices that favored company owned-stores over franchisers. Kolenda, described as obsessing over his treatment by GNC and the suit,. must have lost about everything because he ended up working in an autoparts store while  Gienia cleaned houses.

Around 2001 they moved to Westfield where Kolenda's famliy lived. He remained unemployed, but must have been trying to get into the real estate business. Shortly before the murders he joined the Massachusetts Board of Realtors. The GNC lawsuit had not been settled yet.

 Family members said that they had no idea why Kolenda snapped.

 Kolenda's father Wladyslow told Boston  Globe reporter Jessica Van Sack in a phone interview that he had seen his son for the last time only 12 hours before the murders and that everything seemed normal.

Saturday night, Richard Kolenda stopped by his parents' house in Westfield, as he had every day since his mother's recent stroke. He showed off pictures of his 11-year-old son, Anatoli, playing football in their backyard. "He told me how proud he was of his son and said that his two children are his joy," his father,... "He just was very happy, and that was the last time I saw him."

Friends. however, had a different story. They told police that Gienia Kolenda was suffering from an unnamed chronic debilitating illness and that Richard, unemployed and supporting his family  on a $2000/mo USAF pension was depressed and distraught  over how he would take care of her. On October 20, only 12 hours after visiting his parents

Richard Kolenda murdered his family, stabbing his wife and children repeatedly  then dragging their bodies out of the kitchen and into the basement.  Police said that although the family died quickly, evidence indicated that they each  put up a struggle. Kolenda called 911 and reported the murders, then walked a few blocks to the front of City Hall and shot himself in the head with a small gauge pistol. He left no note.

 The Kolendas have not been forgotten.  Just last month, on the 21nd anniversary of their deaths, members of Geinia's family placed the following memorial in the Springfield (MA) Republican. Richard is not listed:

Gienia and Yana and Toli Kolenda 6/7/1952 - 10/20/2002 12/31/90 - 10/20/02 - 5/20/91 - 10/20/02 Sadly missed by Sophie, Don, Tania, John, & Krystyna -

I'll try not to not  play pop psychologist here, but it appears that the Kolenda deaths fall under the heading of altruistic murder and suicide; that is, intended to relieve  or avoid suffering.

Police said that  Kolenda had no record of  abuse, violence, arrest. or psychiatric disorder. From all accounts he took great pride in Yana and Toli and found adoption a satisfying experience. He'd even learned to speak Russian, rstudied  Russian history and culture, and learned Russian songs to help the kids transition in the US.  He was depressed over money  the protracted lawsuit, and Giena's illness.He probably felt humiliated at the treatment he received from GNC.  Kolenda may have have been suicidal and took the family with him  to keep them from suffering not only from his suicide, but  everything that would go with it. He was afraid what would happen to them when he was gone.

Charles Patrick Ewing
The Boston area experienced two other altruistic-type family killings between 2001-2003.  Boston Globe reporter Farah Stockman interviewed Charles Patrick Ewing, a forensic psychologist and attorney who teaches at SUNY Buffalo Law school and had researched "familicide" cases for (then) 20 years.  Ewing, discussing  all three cases explained:

Unlike men who kill their wives or girlfriends, men who commit familicide rarely have a history of battering, Ewing said. They are known as doting, controlling fathers who see themselves as the center of a family that can't survive without them. "It has to do with the perpetrator perceiving himself as essential to the lives and well-being of the people he's killing," Ewing said. "It is kind of a narcissistic, grandiose belief. . . . `You couldn't possibly survive without me. You're better off dead without me.' ....Men who commit familicide "seem like family men, generally overly concerned with their families," Ewing said.

 We don't know how controlling Kolenda was, but he fits Ewing's profile. He felt responsible for his wife and children--whom he had adopted from a dis-repaired orphanage in Russia,  I think he had a savouir complex and could have felt guilt for them over his failed circumstances. If Gienia was indeed seriously ill, he must have worried about what would happen to her, once he put the bullet in his head. This is a sad ugly story.  I am uncomfortable putting the Kolenda murders in with David Polreis  Viktor Matthey, Nina Hilt, and Jacob Lindorf--all Rtussian children adopted  tortured, and killed by their forever families..  If Kolenda were indeed an altrusitic killer (and I believe he was) , he was the polar opposite of the monster adopters  His family was his forever family and he couldn't see them any other way.