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'American girl' exiled to Siberia to press charges against her father

By Anna Liesowska
18 November 2013

Her US mom still refuses to take back the daughter who 'loves her', and who she abandoned in Russia 32 months ago.

'I wouldn't say that he beat me, but there were some physical altercations. I just feel like he left a scar on me, and that's something I'm going to have to live with for the rest of my life'. Picture: NTV channel, Russia

Sofia Petrova - also known as Sofia Roberts - was sent a few days after her 15th birthday to Siberia by her mother as punishment for bad behaviour. She was supposed to live with her biological father Igor Petrov and attend a Russia school, even though her mother had taught her no Russian, but is now planning charges against him for alleged inappropriate behavior. 

Sofia also accuses him of drunkenness - and as our previous story explained - she has moved out of his flat. During a recent visit, her father turned violent against Sofia's friend Nikita, in footage screened across Russia, but her mother Natalia Roberts, 36, continues to ignore her daughter's desperate pleas to be allowed home. 

For Sofia the clock is ticking: if she cannot get home to America, where she was raised since she was a small baby, by her 18th birthday in March, she may never have the right to be there. Parents in America, Russia and the world over have expressed horror on Moms' websites at the cruel parenting tactics of her mother, a high-flying academic, and her husband James 'Jim' Roberts, an attorney. 

The disturbing footage from NTV (see below) shows Sofia on the phone to her mother in America.

'Mom I know I made mistakes - like any person does, like any 14 years old does', pleads Sofia, now 17. 'But I am not just a piece of furniture you can throw to the rubbish. I am your daughter and I still love you. And please forgive me, I will mend my ways'.

Her mother is heard replying: 'As soon as your family, your father says that everything is normal, that 'she is behaving adequately'. At school they'll say that everything is normal and you get adequate marks, and I see that you've realised your mistakes, we with great joy ... '

She implies that when these conditions are met, Sofia can go back to the only place she feels at home, the US. The camera then follows the teenager with friend Nikita going to her father's flat to ask him to tell Natalia that she is now behaving adequately. The visit quickly descends into shouting and shoving as Petrov seeks to get his daughter inside the door, telling her that Natalia, his ex-wife, had gagged him and not given him 'permission to speak'.

An emotional Sofia asks him: 'And did you need to get permission when you were coming home drunk? Did you need permission then?'

At one point, there is an ugly scuffle as Petrov tries to kick Nikita out of the flat. Petrov then tells NTV: 'Her mentality cannot be changed. It is purely American. And she is trying to - I don't know how to say it right - she is trying to set her own, American, laws here. So that everything here goes the way she likes it'.

Sofia said she is preparing a legal case against her father. 

'All of the claims against my biological father are 100% true. And I will be seeking to press charges,' she said. 'I am making all of these statements because they are true. Whether I stay here in Russia, or return to my homeland, I will not be silent! 

'What he did is not right, and never will be. So many children stay silent out of fear, and I was also this way. But then I understood that I am strong, and I have a voice. And I can be a voice not only for myself, but for all children that are dealing with these same problems as I am. You should never be afraid of anyone, even if the whole world is against you. Always stand for the truth and stand with god and everything will be okay.'

Ask what he had done to her, she replied: 'I wouldn't say that he beat me, but there were some physical altercations. I just feel like he left a scar on me, and that's something I'm going to have to live with for the rest of my life.'

Asked what punishment she sought for him, she said: 'I don't know, I just want him out of my life for good.'

Sofia Roberts father Igor Petrov

'What he did is not right, and never will be. So many children stay silent out of fear, and I was also this way'. Picture: NTV channel, Russia

In a desperate appeal to her mother - who appears deaf to her daughter - she said on Facebook: 'I love my mom and my sister very much, and don't know what I would do if something bad happened to them'.

She begged critics of her mother and stepfather not to 'terrorise' them and to stop passing their contact details to people who have harassed them.

'They don't deserve harassing and threatening phone calls. It's not helping me in any way. All it's doing is adding more hate into this world, which is unneeded. I love my parents and don't want to fight fire with fire. Please share this so everyone is aware!'

Of her plight, living and working in a hostel in Novosibirsk which has given her a home and care denied her by her parents, she said: 'Everyone says that love hurts, but that's not true. Loneliness hurts. Rejection hurts. Losing someone hurts. Envy hurts. Everyone gets these things confused with love, but in reality, love is the only thing in this world that covers up all the pain and makes someone feel wonderful again.'

Sofia said she is overwhelmed by the support she has had, even if she doesn't yet have a route back to the US. 

In one entry, she wrote: 'Sitting here at almost 4 in the morning, and can't sleep. Yes, the reporters and blogs have helped me a lot to get my story out there, and I am very thankful for that. But it is you, regular people, that really make the difference, I read every single message and every comment, and while I cannot answer to all of them, I do want to say a huge thank you to all my supporters. 

'You guys are amazing! You guys give me the strength to keep fighting. And I hope that someone can take me as an inspiration and not be afraid, as a child we were told that adults were always right. But that's not true, they make mistakes just as children do. 

'I hope this all is not just going to help me, but help children all over the world. Children need to have a voice, and never be afraid. Remember always, that there are so many kind people all over the world that love and care about you. I am one of those. Thank you everyone for all the support!'

In another message, she said: 'If any of you are in the process of talking to lawyers and attorneys, please be aware that my legal name is Anastasiya Petrova.  But I am known as Sofia Roberts.'

Unlike her mother, who obtained US citizenship, Sofia remains a Russian citizen.

Comments (26)

Also, reading comments left here by "Americans" (according to their claimed location) just confirms that most of US citizens had turned into spoiled, ignorant and inhumane Sheeple by now: our country is not heading towards a good future. Perhaps, Sofia is better off never returning to the US, due to what this country is and what it will soon become (ruined economy and cutthroat "people")--it is on the way of becoming a 3rd world hellhole. Perhaps, Sofia might find good future in another country where people are more normal and decent.
Ann, San Francsico, CA
17/08/2014 23:14
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The cruel, heartless and evil comments here make me doubt that they were left by human being. Those who defend here inhuman parents--I hope you die slow death, animals (you're worth than any kind of animal, trust me). Her mother should be deported to Siberia. To those who deride here: I HOPE that your children, one day, will be thrown out to a strange country, where they never been before and which language they don't speak, and I HOPE they suffer well. This will happen to you. What goes around comes around.
Ann, San Francisco, California
17/08/2014 14:14
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Did the girl succeed to return to the US?
Allegra, Austria
27/07/2014 03:09
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I watched that TV program about Sophia a while ago and I am still shocked. How can any mother be so heartless, sadistic, so hypocritical?! What sort of a mother is that? If this is "a mother", then who is an enemy? Shame, American authorities could not do anything to help the girl. Such a mother should be taken to court, she abused her child very badly. She got rid of her child, throw her away, ruined the girl's life, it was a ruthless trap - "a holiday for 2 weeks to met the family in Siberia" and left the girl in another country against her will. Russian authorities will not protect Sophia, those are against her - normal thing in my motherland. They could at least offer a place in a hostel for young people who don't have parents or can not sty with their parents. They don't care. I was terribly ashamed to hear what Russian people we saying on TV in the program. Evil, unfair, hypocritical comments - these are my people, they always take the offender's side. The victim is always guilty - this is the normal rule. The only person had a human being' attitude - the teacher, an elderly lady, who helped Sophia to learn Russian and to study at school (Russian school study are like University in Western countries, very hard, not all Russian students can be really good!). But no one heard the teacher... Shame, Russian people in London chose the same attitude - twisting everything with the purpose to accuse the girl, saying: "She demands (!) to take her to wealthy America! She doesn't ask, she demands. Her mother saves the bad girl from jail. The girl doesn't even says "I love my mom" and so on - lie on a top of another lie. And when I said :"But American people sympathise the girl and express their moral support to her", the nice Russian lady said: It's because Americans have easy life and this made them degrade, they don't understand what they say". Lovely, isn't it? You, who have got human beings' point of view about the story, you are "degradants" with primitive minds. And she is not a bad person, who said that. Mysterious Russian soul indeed...
Irena Velichko, London UK
16/07/2014 01:37
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What is the mom trying to prove? She should be teaching her daughter not acting like a spoiled brat. Natalia Roberts is the biggest failure in parenting I've ever seen. Any behavioral problems in her daughter was no doubt caused by her own immaturity. That poor girl. Just let her go home, she's a normal teenager. The Roberts both belong in jail for abandoning their child.
Ashley, Oklahoma
13/04/2014 03:17
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So another example of Russian barbarian behavior. This is a case of Child Abandonment. An extreme case that is well-documented. The "mother" is the one who should be deported to Siberia. So what did this kid do? Have a boyfriend, experiment with drugs and talk back? Are you kidding? That's what all adolescents do with bad parents! This is a case of bad parenting and nothing else. Now this child has endured years of abandonment and living with her biological father who is clearly also an ill-equipped parent. He drinks and has reacts violently to her teenage friend? What needs to happen here is for Sofia to go HOME to America and for her "parents" to be given classes on child rearing or sterilized. Also her mother should be charged with child abandonment. If she had gotten on a plane and come to see her daughter, that would be a different story. She is the only monster in this tragic saga.
Tessa W, Los Angeles
21/03/2014 22:18
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Someone better help her go back to the States, poor kid.
felix fernandez de castro, Palma de Mallorca, Spain
02/12/2013 03:21
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Another sad story, hope someone helps the poor kid.
felix fernandez de castro, Palma de Mallorca, Spain
02/12/2013 03:14
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I want to be a citizen of the gold milliard too. But I 'm a holder of the russian passport. Does anybody feel compassion about me and other 25 million people living in Siberia, including Sofia? ;)
Luba, Novosibirsk
26/11/2013 21:25
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Sue H, you seem to have been really taken in, no ? She is not going to file a lawsuit ! She admits he did not do anything wrong. She just "feels" like he has done something wrong. Sorry, but you don't win lawsuits like that, much less file them.
interestone, Chicago, USA
25/11/2013 22:56
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I heard the WGN radio interview, where they called Sofia. There was something she said that I thought was really funny. Now, she did not use exactly these words of course, but this is what I heard her say: Q: What have you done to show them that you have changed ? I have done everything ! As soon as I landed, they told me that I would not be coming back til I changed and I told them I had !. That didnt work, so I cried adn told them I had. Still didnt work. I yelled, I threatened them and I told them I would make their life hell ! Still, I could not convince them I changed. I therefore made false accusations against my father, but that did not convince them, so I tried to get them fried from their jobs, but I still did not convince them, I have run out of options, so I cant think of anything else to change their minds ? (Interviewer) Chocolates ? I think that I have a suggestion Sofia, but its not chocolates !
interestedone, Chicago, USA
25/11/2013 22:54
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Shame on those of you sticking up for the parents. I'll tell you what. Why don't we send your kids to some foreign country when they have been bad. There is NO excuse for sending your children to a strange country where they can't even speak the language. Abandonment is not the answer. I feel bad for your children. I don't know if you can be trusted to raise your own if you think this way. I'm not defending her actions while she was here, but I'm certainly not going to defend the actions of 2 parents who don't even know how to properly raise a child without abandoning them. Think twice without spewing your hate next time.
Mike, Eureka, KS
25/11/2013 11:14
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BTW, someone above asked if her parents tried to get her help before abandoning her -- no they did not. Her former school in Virginia said they'd never been notified of any problems with Sofia. Everyone here was shocked at what happened and her friends are trying hard to find a way to get her back. Her mother and step father do NOT have her best interests at heart, at all. Nor Igor's for that matter -- he did not want to have her left with him, so far as I can determine from the stories.
Sue H, Boston, USA
25/11/2013 04:20
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Sofia is a courageous girl who was shamefully abandoned by her wealthy parents and left for Igor to deal with -- both of them had to share his tiny apartment, he is said to drink frequently, and the school teachers and director tried to talk to her mother to have her moved out of his place. Her mother refused to discuss the issue with the director of the school. Her parents literally lied and tricked her into returning to Russia, a place she has never seen and did not speak the language. They maliciously canceled her green card application in the US and did not renew her US residency. I'm appalled that anyone would blame her for being abandoned, abused, and rejected for doing what many teens in the US and Russia do. Her parents also seem to be lying about some of the things she allegedly did. Her friends, and her Russian teachers, have all said she's a normal, studious, decent kid. Shame on you all for taking her parents die. I'm proud of her for pressing charges and sticking up for her right to live in a decent, peaceful, non-alcoholic home.
Sue H, Boston, USA
25/11/2013 04:18
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Is it cruel? Lets see...
She is with the family on her homeland. Am I missing something?

Cruel would be and correct me if I am wrong to let this child do whatever she wants except what her parents ask of her. Accusations of all sorts including sex abuse are probably not that important, right?
So let's ALL participate and teach this young lady that it is the way cookie crumbles and she should use these approaches all her life (why not? it worked once) .
Don't you agree that the cruel action will be to actually allow that, because that is monstrous and consequences are way beyond imagination?
William Codd, New York
22/11/2013 19:10
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