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US Notes Politics, Tragedy of New Russian Adoption Law

  • VOA News

Dmitry Kratov, the only official charged with the death of a Russian whistleblowing lawyer walked free after a Moscow court acquitted him of negligence, December 28, 2012.

Dmitry Kratov, the only official charged with the death of a Russian whistleblowing lawyer walked free after a Moscow court acquitted him of negligence, December 28, 2012.

The United States says it "deeply" regrets Russia's passage of a law ending inter-country child adoptions between the U.S. and Russia.

The State Department made the announcement Friday, hours after Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the controversial bill into law. The State Department said American families have adopted more than 60,000 Russian children in the past 20 years. It called the new law "politically motivated" and said it would reduce adoption possibilities for children who are now under institutional care.

The State Department said it is further concerned that adoptions already underway may be stopped. It urged the Russian government to allow those legal procedures to continue.

Before Putin signed the bill into law, a U.S. adoptee from Russia, Tatyana McFadden, told VOA why she supported a petition asking Putin to veto the bill.

"My name is Tatyana McFadden, and I think it's very important to bring this petition to the U.S. embassy because I am here to speak for others who can't on why adoption is very important. Adoption has saved my life and changed my life forever," she said.

McFadden, who is disabled and uses a wheelchair, has won 10 medals in international competition including the Paralympic Games.

The Russian adoption law is seen by the U.S. as retaliation for the Magnitsky Act signed by the U.S. Congress earlier this month, which imposes sanctions on certain Russian officials accused of human rights violations.

It is named after Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian anti-corruption lawyer who died in prison in Russia after exposing an official corruption ring involving in the embezzlement of $250 million in tax money.

On Friday a Russian court acquitted a top prison official charged in Magnitsky's death.

The Tverskoy court found Dmitry Kratov not guilty of negligence in causing Magnitsky's death in 2009. The judge said Kratov was acquitted "due to lack of actions constituting a crime."

Afterward, Kratov told reporters the verdict was "a just decision."

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