Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Russia To Ban US Adoptions In Retaliation To Magnitsky Act

Another Artile on this sad topic.

Published: 17 December, 2012, 16:21Edited: 18 December, 2012,

The State Duma's legislative committee has approved an amendment
banning any US involvement in the adoption of Russian children.
On Wednesday the Lower House will consider the second reading of
the bill.

­The amendment bans both individual adoptions by US citizens and
US companies and organizations acting as intermediaries for those
who seek to adopt Russian kids. They were submitted jointly by
United Russia and Liberal Democratic MPs.

United Russia, the majority party in Parliament, is ready to
support the ban on US adoptions according to Deputy Duma Speaker
Sergey Neverov. He added that if the ban is approved it must
remain in force for as long as US courts pass 'biased' rulings in
cases involving adopted Russian children. The minority factions
also said they would vote in support.

Other suggested amendments deal directly with the potential for
US citizens to influence Russian politics. These include a ban
for US citizens to head or even to work in Russian NGOs that are
engaged in political activities. It is also proposed that all
NGOs receiving funding from the United States be closed.

­Dima Yakovlev Bill

The bill has been poignantly named after the Russian two-year old
Dima Yakovlev, who died after his American adoptive parents left
him in a car for nine hours in hot weather.

Dima Yakovlev's death isnot the first caseinvolving Russian
children who've been allegedly murdered or tortured by their
adoptive parents in the US in recent years. Since the early
1990s, according to Russian officials, at least 19 Russian
children have been killed by their foster parents in the US.

About 60,000 Russian children have been adopted by American
couples the largest number of all those sharing adoption
arrangements with Russia. Relations were strained when an
adoptive mother put her 7-year-old son back on a plane to Russia
sayinghe was no longer wanted, forcing amoratorium on adoptions
in the US, until a new agreement on cross-border adoptions was
signed in November 2012.

President Vladimir Putin slammed American authoritieslast week
for their vindicatory reaction over Russian orphans dying in US
foster families.

"We are indignant not so much at these tragedies - even though
it's the worst thing that can happen - as at the reaction of the
[US] government, a vindicatory reaction. That's what is bad,"the
Russian President said.

Criticisms have been leveled against the American judicial system
for not sufficiently responding tocases of abuse of Russian
childrenby their American adoptive parents.

­Balanced response to Magnitsky Act?

­Russia has instituted a special post of the ombudsman for
children's rights. The man who currently occupies this position,
Pavel Astakhov, is a staunch supporter of a total ban on foreign
adoptions. The ombudsman reiterated his position this week saying
that all Russian children must remain in Russia if it is
possible, stating that the tragedies had most frequently occurred
in the United States.

Astakhov also said that Russia must reply to the demonstratively
unfriendly policy of the United States and the ban on adoption
could be such a reply.

Despite nearly unanimous support in the Parliament, the move to
ban adoptions has attracted lots of criticism from both
government officials and public activists. "This sort of an eye
for an eye type of logic is faulty, as it can only increase the
suffering of children who cannot find adoptive parents in
Russia," Education Minister Dmitry Livanov wrote in his Twitter

Human rights activist and Public Chamber member Olga Kostina
however believes that the new legislation would hit decent foster
families instead of targeting the officials who abuse their
authority and transfer children for money.

Kostina believes that Russia's response to the Magnitsky Act
should only be noticeable by those politicians who introduced it
and not the ordinary citizens and children.

"I would, for example, make a list of those who promote the
'orange revolutions,'"she suggested, adding that with this bill
in its current form Russia joins the US in a competition of
stupidity and idiocy.

The leader of the Fair Russia party Sergey Mironov said that
though he personally supported the ban on adoptions, the priority
should be put on making adoption inside Russia easier. First, the
procedure must be simplified and second, the adoptive parents
must receive some benefits from the state.

The Magnitsky Act,approved by the Senate on December 6andsigned
by President Obama on December 14, imposes an entry ban and a
freeze of US assets on a group of Russian MP's, law enforcement
and court officials who are allegedly complicit in the death of
Sergey Magnitsky - an auditor who worked for a British investment
fund and who died when he was put in pre-trial detention over a
large-scale tax evasion scam. Up until his death Magnitsky
claimed that a major fraud had been committed by corrupt

Two prison doctors were tried and sentenced for criminal
negligence but a part of the US political and business community,
led by Magnitsky's former employer William Browder, have been
pressing for more investigations and punishments. Browder is
currently under investigation in Russia in the same tax evasion

Russia has repeatedly blasted the Magnitsky Act as an attempt to
pressure justice in a sovereign country.

Last week Russia's Lower Housepassed the retaliatory Dima
Yakovlev bill in its first reading. It proposes denying Russian
visas and freezing all financial assets of American citizens
involved in the violations of the rights of Russians abroad.

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