The Vremya program aired a story titled “A family that fled from Sweden to Russia because of the threat of losing their children was sheltered in Krasnodar.” Anticipating it, presenter Ekaterina Andreeva reports :
“You can’t speak Russian to your brothers among themselves. In Sweden, the authorities directly intervene in family matters. If a domestic conflict suddenly arises with neighbors, the transfer of the matter to the political plane is not ruled out. Apparently, in Sweden they believe that Russian-speaking children can be taken away through the courts and given to no one knows who. A family of immigrants from Latvia decided that such lawlessness would not happen. And fled the eurozone. Now they are in Krasnodar, with the people who decided to shelter them.”
The heroes of the story are Rolands Gailitis and Inita Leishavniece (although the editors of Channel One failed to cope with this complex Latvian surname and wrote “Letsavnieice”). The correspondent Sergei Ponomarev tells about them this (the author's style is preserved):
“The Swedish social services wanted to take away the children from the family of immigrants from Latvia. We quarreled with the neighbors, who accused Inita's mother of alcoholism. But things took a much more serious turn when, last spring, teachers and kindergarten teachers noticed that the boys spoke Russian among themselves.
Inita continues the story:
“The teachers said that this is an illegal language in general. I mean, it can't even be used."
The whole story looks extremely strange. Rolands and Inita, both ethnic Latvians by their names, speak Russian with a noticeable accent. Children in the frame are generally silent; when the correspondent addresses one of them, he only nods his head, and the father answers instead of him.
This is not the first story by Russian propagandists about this family; back in January, when they had just arrived in Russia, a story about them was titled “A family from Sweden ran away from Russophobia in Primorye” (in fact, instead of Primorye, they were stuck in Karelia for two months, after which someone decided to shelter them in the Krasnodar Territory) was published in Vesti. And there, too, the children do not speak a word of Russian, although, it would seem, the Russian speech of the child, because of which the family had to flee thousands of kilometers, could become an ornament to the plot. But Rolands Gailitis says a very strange thing there:
“The younger one doesn’t go to kindergarten, but he said there that he was Russian, and from that moment it began.”
That is, according to him, after a small child called himself Russian (although in fact he is Latvian), the family began to have problems with social services. According to Gailitis, representatives of the social services told him that they would take the children away and he would never see them again.
How plausible are their stories about the "illegal language" that cannot be used? There are doubts. Swedish schools teach Russian, and not only as a foreign language. Russian textbooks have been published in the country for those students whose native language is Russian. In 2022, the National Education Agency released a video for parents of preschool children explaining how the Swedish kindergarten system works; it has several variants in different languages - Swedish, three variants of Romani, Farsi, French, Ukrainian, Somali, Russian , English, Dari and Arabic.
Finding out what really happened to the family of Rolands Gailitis in the Swedish town of Hedesund is hardly possible: in Sweden they care about maintaining privacy and do not report on cases of removing children from families, especially until they are completed. But the story about the Russian language as the reason for the persecution of the family, told by Gailitis and Leishavniece, looks rather ridiculous.