Vladimir Putin to sign bill banning Americans from adopting Russian orphans

 

Moscow

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said he will sign a controversial bill barring Americans from adopting Russian children, as 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 that it victimises 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. Russia is the single biggest source of adopted children in the US, with more than 60,000 Russian children being taken in by Americans over the past two decades.

“I still don’t see any reasons why I should not sign it,” Mr Putin said yesterday. He added that he “intends” to do so.

Unicef estimates that there are about 740,000 children who are 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.

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

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

The Russian bill is retaliation for an American law that calls for sanctions against Russian officials deemed to be human rights violators. The 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 $230m (£143m) tax fraud. The law prohibits officials allegedly involved in his death from entering the US. 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.

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

The US State Department said it regrets the Russian parliament’s decision to pass the bill, saying it would prevent many children from growing up in families. Critics of the bill have left stuffed toys and candles outside the parliament’s lower and upper houses to express solidarity with the orphans.

AP

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
From Mean Girls to Mamet: Lindsay Lohan
theatre
Sport
Nathaniel Clyne (No 2) drives home his side's second goal past Arsenal’s David Ospina at the Emirates
footballArsenal 1 Southampton 2: Arsène Wenger pays the price for picking reserve side in Capital One Cup
News
Mike Tyson has led an appalling and sad life, but are we not a country that gives second chances?
peopleFormer boxer 'watched over' crash victim until ambulance arrived
Arts and Entertainment
Geena Davis, founder and chair of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media
tv
News
i100
Travel
travelGallery And yes, it is indoors
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
The Tiger Who Came To Tea
booksJudith Kerr on what inspired her latest animal intruder - 'The Crocodile Under the Bed'
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
News
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Account Executive/Sales Consultant – Permanent – Hertfordshire - £16-£20k

£16500 - £20000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently r...

KS2 PPA Teacher needed (Mat Cover)- Worthing!

£100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Crawley: KS2 PPA Teacher currently nee...

IT Systems Manager

£40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...

IT Application Support Engineer - Immediate Start

£28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Software Application Support Analyst - Imm...

Day In a Page

Syria air strikes: ‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings

Robert Fisk on Syria air strikes

‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings
Will Lindsay Lohan's West End debut be a turnaround moment for her career?

Lindsay Lohan's West End debut

Will this be a turnaround moment for her career?
'The Crocodile Under the Bed': Judith Kerr's follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

The follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

Judith Kerr on what inspired her latest animal intruder - 'The Crocodile Under the Bed' - which has taken 46 years to get into print
BBC Television Centre: A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past

BBC Television Centre

A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past
Lonesome George: Custody battle in Galapagos over tortoise remains

My George!

Custody battle in Galapagos over tortoise remains
10 best rucksacks for backpackers

Pack up your troubles: 10 best rucksacks for backpackers

Off on an intrepid trip? Experts from student trip specialists Real Gap and Quest Overseas recommend luggage for travellers on the move
Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world