A Nottingham based charity has mounted a campaign which calls orphans living in Russia, future criminals and drugs addicts, alongside photos of children who are posing as, or are, children in care.

Christian charity Love Russia, launched its campaign in the UK four days ago, in order to raise awareness around its work. The charity’s Twitter feed says the organisation is committed to “improving lives of thousands of orphaned and disadvantaged people in Russia”, however a former orphan based in the country has branded the campaign a disgrace, saying that the charity is not only discriminating against these children but using inflammatory language in order to extract donations.

Vadim Dovganyuk, an influential orphans’ rights advocate, came across the posters after the charity liked one of his Instagram photos. Sharing his thoughts on the campaign with his Facebook followers, Vadim said:

“For those who wonder why I have so many problems with specifically British organisations that are active in support of disadvantaged children here in the region of Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, and Moldova, see the poster of one of the organisations below. Not edited in any way, straight copy of what they shared to the public. “Candidate for crime, addiction & prison.” And thank you very much…

There are a lot of these slogans, while all of them base their info on statistics of the 90s, right after the fall of the Soviet Union. The likelihood of an orphan, foundling, or any other child without parental care nowadays to end up engaging in crime, addiction, or serving jail time is set at a percentage of around 10%, at least in Russia, a country that organisation is claiming to be working in.

Some may call it incentivisation to make people donate more, but in reality it is discrimination. Especially when we add the fact that the situation in the United Kingdom among those without parental care is worse than at any country in Eastern Europe, apart of Romania…”

Vadim believes that unlike the UK, where around half of all children who have been in care find themselves inside the prison system, Russia’s situation is quite different, and that the data Love Russia is using is not current and appears to serve no other purpose than to illicit donations from people attending the charity’s events.

For our part, we find this campaign insensitive and tasteless, and like Vadim, clearly a form of discrimination.

Very many thanks to Vadim for alerting us to this development. You can follow his excellent blog, SnowCalmth, here.