Families of birth-switch girls win €72,000
TWO Russian families have won €72,000 compensation each from a maternity home that accidentally switched their 12-year-old daughters at birth.
They may use the money to house the girls next to each other.
The story has captivated Russia ever since the families learnt recently about the switch after the former husband of Yuliya Belyayeva refused to support their daughter, Irina, because she did not look like him.
A DNA test revealed that neither of them were Irina's parent. An official investigation tracked down Irina's biological father, Naimat Iskanderov, who had been raising Mrs Belyayeva's own child, Anna.
Ms Belyayeva laughed with joy after the judge delivered the verdict in a courtroom in Kopeisk in Russia's Ural Mountains, but Mr Iskanderov remained stony-faced.
Mrs Belyayeva caressed her biological daughter, Anna, while Irina, who she raised, sat stern-faced on a sofa, her eyes down. "She feels jealous," Mrs Belyayeva said.
Mr Iskanderov parted with his wife when Anna was five.
Despite the verdict, Mrs Belyayeva said she will still struggle to overcome the feeling of shock over the inadvertent swap.
"The money just can't ease the pain," she said. "All the money in the world isn't worth a child's look at mother. . . There are moments when I think it would have been better if I hadn't known anything about that."