Svetlanka Ristic 2004
> Guest Character
Svetlanka Ristic Deidre Rubenstein
Marital Status: Miroslav
Children: Liljana and Zoran
A strict Serbian mother, Svetlanka grew used to the good life in Australia as she and her family ran a successful vineyard outside Perth. She also grew used to having her family around her. When her daughter, Liljana, moved halfway across the country to Melbourne, she found it very difficult to accept the situation. However, Lil’s husband, David, had been offered a wonderful business opportunity and so Svetlanka waved them all goodbye.
Shortly after Christmas that year, Svetlanka arrived in Erinsborough for a visit. At first, she was under the impression that the family were doing well, only staying with David’s father, Harold, while construction on their home in Eden Hills was completed. However, Svetlanka was no fool and she soon found out about the financial problems that had hit the family hard, after it was revealed that Serena had been modelling for the nasty Chris Cousens to help the family raise some cash. Svetlanka soon saw an opportunity to emotionally blackmail her daughter into returning to Perth. For a while, Liljana thought about her mother’s offer, but the family had become settled in Erinsborough and they weren’t about to leave.
Svetlanka’s tactics then became crueller, using money to try about buy Serena’s favour. As her plan to bring the family back to Perth began to crumble, Svetlanka faked heart problems to get some sympathy. Liljana was no longer fooled by her mother, however, and told her to get out. Svetlanka told Lil that in that case, she would be forced to reveal the truth about her daughter. Lil continued to be defiant, so her mother announced that Liljana had already been pregnant when she met David. David pretended that he had already known this fact for years, and stood by his wife as she sent her mother packing. With Svetlanka gone, Liljana revealed to David and Serena that soon after meeting him, she’d given birth to a still-born baby, which her mother had taken away before she’d even had a chance to see it. And with Serena still in contact with her grandmother in the months that followed, it seemed that Svetlanka wasn’t quite ready to give up on her family…
Before long, she was back in Erinsborough and staying at Lassiter’s, but only Serena knew that her grandmother was back, and Svetlanka rewarded her with a bracelet. It wasn’t long before Serena and Svetlanka were spotted by Harold, and Serena decided to put an end to all of the sneaking around by announcing that she would be bringing a friend to dinner. That evening, Svetlanka deliberately sat in Lassiter’s reception and made herself late for dinner, then claimed to her shocked family that she had been taken to a deserted area by a taxi driver. Lil was unhappy to see her mother again, and told her to get out, but Svetlanka was prepared for this and announced that she wanted to give the family $100,000. She was further pleased when this announcement divided the family, with David wanting to take it.
Meanwhile, Svetlanka was also getting closer to Harold, and the couple shared dinner together before accidentally sharing a kiss as he left her at the hotel. When Svetlanka bumped into David at the Coffee Shop, he told her that the only way they would accept the money would be if Svetlanka left for Perth straight away and didn’t contact them again. She found comfort with Harold, and decided to put the money in their account anyway. When Lil and David went to see her mother, and told her that they’d be returning the money, Lil told Svetlanka that she could come to dinner so that they could say goodbye. However, on the evening, Liljana launched into a speech about how she’d disgraced her family by becoming pregnant as a teenager, and how she’d felt that her mother hated her when the child was stillborn. This finally led to mother and daughter making amends, but Svetlanka was horrified when she saw a family friend from Perth, Luka Dokich, chatting to Serena in the Coffee Shop.
As Serena and Luka became closer, Svetlanka tried to prevent the relationship, warning Serena that Luka was nothing but trouble. Her problems got worse when Luka explained that he had come to the area to begin a search for his natural parents, and was hoping that Svetlanka, as his godmother, might be able to help. Svetlanka tried hard to convince him that he was wrong about being adopted, but he failed to be convinced. She was forced to inform him, falsely, that she had spoken to one of the nurses from the hospital where he’d been born, and that he was wrong about his parents, being sending him home to Perth. Luka announced that he would be leaving, but would spend some time with friends in Adelaide on the way back. Svetlanka was relieved, but began to wonder why Serena was acting so strangely, and decided to follow her. Svetlanka was shocked when she realised that Luka was still in town and Serena was still seeing him. However, Serena realised that she was being followed and a confrontation ensued during which Svetlanka slapped her granddaughter.
This was quickly forgotten when Liljana collapsed at work and was rushed to hospital where she was told that her liver had failed. Although Lil was dead against it, Svetlanka offered to have tests to see if she was compatible, but it seemed that none of the family members were a match. The situation with Lil was becoming extremely grave, as she only had days to live without a transplant. Finally, Svetlanka was forced to confess to Karl Kennedy that there was someone else who might be a match – Liljana’s son, Luka. Luka had already decided to leave to continue his search for his parents, but Sky managed to track him down. Luka agreed to the tests and the whole family were relieved when the results were a match and the operation went ahead.
Emotions were still running high when Svetlanka once again attempted to warn Serena not to go near Luka. Serena tried to argue back, but realised that something was very wrong, and Svetlanka had to admit that Luka and Serena were half-siblings. Serena was horrified, but reluctantly agreed to keep the information to herself, for fear that it would set back the recoveries of both Liljana and Luka. The following week, they were both released from hospital, and set about their recuperation at the Bishop house. Realising that the secret was becoming dangerously close to being revealed, Svetlanka lied to Luka once again, claiming that she had a lead about his real mother in Canberra. As Luka prepared to leave the next morning, Serena could no longer stand by and watch her mother being deceived. She blurted out the truth and Svetlanka walked out, realising how much damage she had done.
Later that day, Harold attempted to convince Svetlanka that her family wouldn’t abandon her, despite all that had gone on. However, when they returned to the house, Lil announced that she never wanted to see her mother again. Svetlanka accepted this and made plans to return to Perth. The following week, Harold and Svetlanka came across a little boy named Sam in the Coffee Shop, who had run away from home. Seemingly to prove to Harold that she wasn’t completely evil, she helped Sam be reunited with his mother. Before leaving, Svetlanka asked Harold to join her and he agreed to accompany her for a couple of weeks, and take it from there. But when Harold announced these plans to his family, they were disgusted, and Lil visited her mother to ask her to think again about ruining Harold’s life as well as her own. Having lost everyone she loved, Svetlanka told Harold that, although she loved him, his place was in Erinsborough with his family, before leaving in a taxi for the airport.