Russian ban on US adoptions comes into force
By Stuart Williams, AFPMOSCOW--Russia's controversial ban on adoptions of Russian children by American families came into force on Tuesday, days after its signing by President Vladimir Putin sparked an international outcry.
January 2, 2013, 12:02 am TWN
The ban is part of a law rushed through parliament to hit back at the United States over its passing of a law sanctioning Russian officials implicated in the death in jail of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky in 2009.
But opponents say it makes Russian orphans — many with physical or mental difficulties — the blameless victims of a diplomatic standoff between Washington and Moscow.
The law came into force as expected after being signed by Putin on Dec. 28, Russian state media said.
The blanket ban brings to an end a process that according to the U.S. State Department has seen U.S. families adopt more than 60,000 Russian children over the past 20 years.
It also forbids U.S. citizens who are deemed to have hurt the rights of Russians from entering Russia, and allows the authorities to shut down NGOs funded by the United States.
The ban on adoptions caused an unusual amount of dissent within the political establishment, with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov indicating his discomfort and Deputy Prime Minister in charge of social policy Olga Golodets vehemently opposed.
The anti-Putin opposition is trying to play on the splits within the elite by holding a mass rally against the law on Jan. 13 in central Moscow, which organizers hope will muster up to 20,000 people.
The U.S. State Department described the ban on adoption of Russian children by Americans as “politically motivated” and said that Washington deeply regretted the move.
Veteran Republican Senator John McCain went even further, saying: “I often wonder how much lower the Russian government under President Putin can stoop.
“But to punish innocent babies and children over a political disagreement between our governments is a new low, even for Putin's Russia.”