Russia’s Putin to sign law barring US adoption

Thursday, December 27, 2012
Putin in a State Council Presidium meeting. [Photo: The Presidential Press and Information Office] 
Moscow: Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday said he would sign a contentious bill into law that would ban adoptions of Russian children by U.S. citizens.

Although Putin has said he would need to study the final text of the bill instead he saw no any reason not to sign a bill into law.

"I still don't see any reasons why I should not sign [the bill], “he announced his decision at a meeting with senior government officials, including cabinet members and legislative leaders.

The bill was introduced in reaction to a U.S. law known as the Magnitsky Act that imposes sanctions on Russian officials suspected of human rights abuses.

It is named after Sergei Magnitsky, a whistle-blowing Russian lawyer who was physically abused and died in a Moscow prison in 2009.

The adoptions ban was unanimously approved on December 26 by the Federation Council, the upper house of the Russian parliament. It had been passed earlier by the lower chamber, the State Duma.

The bill has further increased tensions in U.S.-Russian relations, which were already strained by the adoption in the United States of the Magnitsky Act.

The U.S. State Department has said it "regrets" the Russian move, saying it was "misguided to link the fate of children to unrelated political considerations."

Critics in Russia say it victimizes Russian orphans by depriving them of an opportunity to escape often-dismal Russian orphanages.

Putin on December 27 angrily rejected those arguments, saying, "You know, there are probably many places in the world where living conditions are better than [in Russia]. So what? Should we send all our children there? Should we perhaps move there, too?"

Putin said that, alongside the adoptions ban, he intends to sign a decree increasing support for Russian orphans.

The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) estimates there are about 740,000 children without parental custody in Russia, while only 18,000 Russians are now waiting to adopt a child.

U.S. citizens account for the bulk of foreign adoptions of Russian children, including many with disabilities.
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