In his latest venture, Rutkowski extricated a Russian-born boy in his early teens from a foster home in south-western Norway.
“When it’s the child himself that calls, it tells you it’s a serious case,” Rutkowski told news website Aftenposten.no
The boy was placed with foster parents in the aftermath of a custody battle between his divorced Russian mother and Norwegian stepfather. The mother and boy appeared to triumph when Russian newspapers reported the boy’s arrival at a Moscow airport.
Rutkowski and the boy agreed the latter would say he was going out to exercise. Then, in a manner not disclosed to either country’s press, he was spirited out of the country.
“I wouldn’t call it kidnapping,” the Russian woman’s Norwegian lawyer Maggi Rødvik told the newspaper.
“This was a distress call.”
It wasn’t the only “get-me-out-of-here” signal Rutkowski has answered in Norway. This summer, Norwegian papers widely reported his daring “rescue” of a nine-year-old Polish girl placed in foster care by the country’s oft-criticized child protection services, Barnevernet.
An actor and former member of Poland's parliament, Rutkowski’s web page reveals a picture of him blazing away at the bad guys with an automatic weapon. Not surprisingly, Russian newspapers have dubbed him “the children’s Rambo”.
Rutkowski’s operations are planned in minute detail and appear to require expert knowledge of northern cross-border escape routes. And he hasn’t left any traces of his activities: police dismissed the report of kidnapping due to “lack of evidence”.
The Russian boy’s mother had reportedly fought a long and bitter battle with the step-father and Norwegian child protection services. In the end, she was contacted by Rutkowski’s “agents”.
He admitted the boy’s flight from Norway was hampered by Polish authorities who had been tipped off by Norwegian police. The boy and his mother had to wait until a Polish judge — amid a diplomatic tug of war reported on in Poland and in Russia — determined the flight was lawful under the Hague Convention on kidnapping.
Rutkowski, meanwhile, continues his campaign to free kids in foster care, especially those in Norway. The 51-year-old has his own TV show in Poland on which his work is re-enacted.