The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Russia's Putin says he intends to sign bill banning Americans from adopting Russian children

  • Print

MOSCOW - Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday he will sign a controversial bill barring Americans from adopting Russian children, while the Kremlin's children's rights advocate recommended extending the ban to the rest of the world.

The bill is part of the country's increasingly confrontational stance with the West and has angered some Russians who argue it victimizes children to make a political point.

The law would block dozens of Russian children now in the process of being adopted by American families from leaving the country and cut off a major route out of often-dismal orphanages. The U.S. is the biggest destination for adopted Russian children — more than 60,000 of them have been taken in by Americans over the past two decades.

"I still don't see any reasons why I should not sign it," Putin said at a televised meeting. He went on to say that he "intends" to do so.

UNICEF estimates that there are about 740,000 children not in parental custody in Russia, while only 18,000 Russians are now waiting to adopt a child. Russian officials say they want to encourage more Russians to adopt Russian orphans.

Children's rights ombudsman Pavel Astakhov on Thursday petitioned the president to extend the ban to other countries.

"There is huge money and questionable people involved in the semi-legal schemes of exporting children," he tweeted.

Kremlin critics say Astakhov is trying to extend the ban only to get more publicity and win more favours with Putin. A graduate of the KGB law school and a celebrity lawyer, Astakhov was a pro-Putin activist before becoming children's rights ombudsman and is now seen as the Kremlin's voice on adoption issues.

"This is cynicism beyond limits," opposition leader Ilya Yashin tweeted. "The children rights ombudsman is depriving children of a future."

The bill is retaliation for an American law that calls for sanctions against Russian officials deemed to be human rights violators.

The U.S. law, called the Magnitsky Act, stems from the case of Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian lawyer who died in jail after being arrested by police officers whom he accused of a $230 million tax fraud. The law prohibits officials allegedly involved in his death from entering the U.S.

Kremlin critics say that means Russian officials who own property in the West and send their children to Western schools would lose access to their assets and families.

Putin said U.S. authorities routinely let Americans suspected of violence toward Russian adoptees go unpunished — a clear reference to Dima Yakovlev, a Russian toddler for whom the adoption bill is named. The child was adopted by Americans and then died in 2008 after his father left him in a car in broiling heat for hours. The father was found not guilty of involuntary manslaughter.

The U.S. State Department says it regrets the Russian Parliament's decision to pass the bill, saying it would prevent many children from growing up in families.

Astakhov said Wednesday that 46 children who were about to be adopted in the U.S. would remain in Russia if the bill comes into effect.

The passage of the bill follows weeks of a hysterical media campaign on Kremlin-controlled television that lambasts American adoptive parents and adoption agencies that allegedly bribe their way into getting Russian children.

A few lawmakers claimed that some Russian children were adopted by Americans only to be used for organ transplants and become sex toys or cannon fodder for the U.S. Army. A spokesman with Russia's dominant Orthodox Church said that the children adopted by foreigners and raised outside the church will not "enter God's kingdom."

Critics of the bill have left dozens of stuffed toys and candles outside the parliament's lower and upper houses to express solidarity with Russian orphans.

___

Mansur Mirovalev contributed to this report

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Keri Latimer looks for beauty in the dark and the spaces between the notes

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS 060711 Chris Pedersen breeds Monarch butterflies in his back yard in East Selkirk watching as it transforms from the Larva or caterpillar through the Chrysalis stage to an adult Monarch. Here an adult Monarch within an hour of it emerging from the Chrysalis which can be seen underneath it.
  • MIKE APORIUS/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS BUSINESS - cow on farm owned by cattle farmer Lloyd Buchanan near Argyle Wednesday afternoon -see Larry Kusch's story  January 04/2006

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

What's your take on a report that shows violent crime is decreasing in Winnipeg?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google