The independent Russian investigative outlet iStories working with the Ukrainian Reckoning Project NGO have identified yet another potential war crime initiated by Russia’s so-called children's ombudsman Maria Lvova-Belova.

The Kvartal Lui (Louis’ Quarter) charity, the head of which is Lvova-Belova’s younger sister Sofia, are bringing disabled Ukrainians from occupied Kherson and other territories to a community called Novye Berega (New Shores) near the city of Penza 540 kilometers south-east of Moscow. Here, the displaced are given Russian citizenship and are granted a pension - at which point the charity obtains authority from the courts to freely dispose of the disabled person’s property, money, and 75 percent of their disability pension to “cover the costs of their residential support.”


Speaking to some of these displaced persons the report confirmed that most had been “relocated” to Russia without their consent.

Novye Berega was constructed at a reported cost of more than 208 million rubles ($2.25 million), with funds from the state, oligarchs, and local businesses. According to iStories donors included former Chelsea football club owner Roman Abramovich, billionaire nickel magnate Vladimir Potanin, “Orthodox oligarch” Konstantin Malofeev, and Vladimir Putin’s close friend Gennady Timchenko.

Projects run by Kvartal Lui, including Novye Berega, have received a total of almost 160 million rubles ($1.7 million) from presidential “social protection” funds since 2017. Not only that, but the charity is also very much a Lvov-Belov family affair.

Russian Orthodox Church Offers Military Training for Kids
Other Topics of Interest

Russian Orthodox Church Offers Military Training for Kids

Confession, communion and Kalashnikovs: it’s one-stop shopping right on the church grounds for Russian children training to rid the world of those pesky NATO-and-gay-infested Ukrainians.

Maria Lvova-Belova herself founded both Kvartal Lui and Novye Berega and at various times her relatives have worked with the organization: her father Alexei, her husband Pavel Kogelman, and brothers Pavel and Fyodor work in various capacities within Kvartal Lui. Lvova-Belova’s youngest sister, Sofia, worked with her to design the Novye Berega project and was appointed head of the foundation that runs it in early 2023.


At its opening Russian propaganda reported that “the residents of Novye Berega from [the] new regions” - the euphemism for the Russian-occupied regions of Ukraine- thanked the Russian leadership for bringing them there and expressed no desire to return to Ukraine.

The iStories report uses first-hand accounts from disabled Ukrainians, such as 27-year-old Oleksandr Danylchuk, to contradict Moscow’s claims. He said that while he was still in occupied Kherson, he was given a Russian passport and bank cards for allowances. He said “By making these documents, they think we will live in Russia. They think we belong to them.”

The article cites Gleb Bogush, an international law expert from the University of Copenhagen who said that the forced displacement of civilians may constitute a war crime or even a crime against humanity.

He said, “International law, in principle, prohibits the transfer of people from occupied territories, regardless of whether they are children, whether they are incapacitated, it is prohibited.” According to him, the fact that many of those taken to Penza were considered as mentally incompetent which makes it obvious that their movement must have been involuntary.


In March 2023 an arrest warrant was issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for Maria Lvova-Belova along with Russia’s President Putin for: “the war crime of unlawful deportation of children and the unlawful transfer of children from occupied areas of Ukraine to the Russian Federation.”

Lvova-Belova said the displacement referred to by the ICC was an “evacuation” necessary to protect the children's interests. Ukrainian authorities have said this represents deportation and genocide in accordance with the principles of international law.

iStories says it requested comment from Sofia Lvova-Belova and others involved in social protection in the occupied territories, but none had responded at the time of publication.

To suggest a correction or clarification, write to us here
You can also highlight the text and press Ctrl + Enter