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Russia's Putin Intends to Sign Adoption Ban

  • VOA News

Opposition activists hold posters reading "Do not involve children in politics" and "Lawmakers, children are not your ownership" during a protest against a bill banning U.S. adoptions of Russian children in St. Petersburg, Russia, December 26, 2012.

Opposition activists hold posters reading "Do not involve children in politics" and "Lawmakers, children are not your ownership" during a protest against a bill banning U.S. adoptions of Russian children in St. Petersburg, Russia, December 26, 2012.

Russian President Vladimir Putin says he intends to sign a bill that bans Americans from adopting Russian children -- legislation that the U.S. calls "misguided."

In a televised meeting Thursday, Putin said he still does not see any reason why he should not sign the bill and he intends to sign it.

The Russian parliament gave final approval to the legislation Wednesday. All that is needed is Putin's signature for it to become law.

The measure, named after a Russian toddler who died after his American father left him locked in a car for hours, is Russia's retaliation against U.S. passage of the Magnitsky Act.

The Magnitsky Act, which was signed by U.S. President Barack Obama this month, imposes a visa ban and financial sanctions on Russian officials accused of human rights violations. It is named after Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian anti-corruption lawyer who died in jail in 2009, after alleging officials were involved in a multi-million-dollar tax scam.

In renewed criticism of the adoption bill, the State Department says the "welfare of children is simply too important to tie to the political aspects" of U.S.-Russian relations and it is "misguided to link the fate of children to unrelated political considerations."

The head of a Russian child advocacy group says he would tell President Putin to "veto" what he calls a "terrible" measure.

Right of the Child director Boris Altshuler told VOA Thursday that Putin should advise parliament to seek another response to the Magnitsky Act, one that would not negatively affect children.

He said many Russian children who are eligible for adoption are languishing in overcrowded orphanages.

"In Russia, we have 100, 200, 400 kids [grouped together in orphanages]. It is so harmful for the development of the child," said Altshuler.

During a Thursday briefing in Moscow, Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said parliament had "responded appropriately" in passing the ban. He said the attitude of Russian society had been "reflected."

The State Department says more than 60,000 Russian children have been adopted by Americans since 1992.

President Putin has called the adoption ban an adequate response to the Magnitsky Act. He said Americans have not been taking care of the Russian children they adopt.

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