Sadly, in this debate, the children are the ones who really
MOSCOW (AP) -Russia's parliament is preparing to debate a measure
that would ban adoption ofRussian childrenby Americans, raising
the stakes in a dispute with Washington overhuman
The proposal comes afterPresident Barack Obamasigned into law
last week a bill that imposes sanctions on Russians deemed to be
connected with human rights abuses.
A retaliatory measure that passed its first reading in the
Russian Duma last week calls for establishing a blacklist of
Americans judged to have violated the human rights of Russians.
Officials said that would include those who abuse children
adopted from Russia.
But an amendment to be considered in Wednesday's second reading
calls for an outright ban on adoptions of Russian children by
Russians have bristled at reports about the abuse of adopted
Russian children. After long delay, an agreement on regulating
adoptions was ratified by the Duma in July. The agreement was
aimed at addressing concerns galvanized by the scandal over an
American woman who in 2010 sent back a 7-year-old Russian boy she
had adopted, saying he had behavioral problems and she didn't
want him anymore.
But lawmaker Elena Afanasiyeva, a co-author of the proposed new
amendment, said the new adoption deal has not eliminated serious
problems, especially the poor U.S. communications with Russian
authorities about cases of abuse by adoptive parents.
"Frequently, they hear about it from the mass media," she told
the state news agency ITAR-Tass.
Afanasiyeva also called sentences for abusive adoptive parents in
the United States too light and said they were inconsistent from
state to state.
The proposed law is named the Dima Yakovlev Bill, after a
21-month-old Russian boy who died after his American adoptive
father left him alone in an automobile in the baking heat for
hours. The father was acquitted of involuntary manslaughter.
However, some Russian officials have warned that the amendment
could end up harming children.
"The logic is to be 'an eye for an eye,' but the logic is
incorrect because it could harm our children who cannot find
adopters in Russia," Education and Science Minister Dmitry
Livanov commented on his Twitter account.
President Vladimir Putin's foreign policy adviser Yuri Ushakov
refused to comment directly on the Russian amendment Tuesday but
said "I understand the reaction of our lawmakers."
"What did the Americans hope for - did they hope we would just
swallow it? It causes indignation," he said of the U.S. human
The U.S. law is named after Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian lawyer
who was arrested by the officials he accused of a $230 million
tax fraud. He was repeatedly denied medical treatment and in 2009
died in jail. Russian rights groups have accused the Kremlin of
failing to prosecute those responsible, and the officials that
Magnitsky accused of fraud went on to be promoted.