Breaking News

Russian Parliament Passes Measure Banning US Adoptions

Russia's parliament has approved a measure banning Americans from adopting Russian children.

Lawmakers from Russia's lower house of parliament, the State Duma, approved the bill after a second reading Wednesday. To become law, the bill must pass a third reading, then clear the upper house before going to President Vladimir Putin for his signature.

Mr. Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, expressed the president's stance on the measure, saying while Mr. Putin understands the emotions that prompted the move by parliamentarians, the executive's position is more "restrained."

Top Russian officials have voiced opposition to the bill. Duma Deputy Ilya Ponomaryov, a member of the opposition Just Russia party, criticized the measure as being without principle.



"This is an outrageous, despicable law -- absolutely unbalanced. The Duma has stood to defend corrupt Russians, and what's more, they've done this in the most exploitative manner -- by bringing up the problems of children. Half a year ago, United Russia was the first to say that international adoption had to be allowed when they discussed the ratification of the law with the Americans. Now, they are the first ones against it. This is a position absolutely without principle, and this is all for money.''



The legislation essentially bans adoption of Russian children by U.S. families, ends bilateral adoption agreements between the two countries and forbids U.S. adoption agencies from working in Russia.

It is seen as retaliation for a recently passed U.S. law, the Magnitsky Act, which imposes a visa ban and financial sanctions on Russian officials accused of violating human rights.

The U.S. bill is named after Sergei Magnitsky, a 37-year-old Russian anti-corruption lawyer who died in jail in 2009 after exposing what he called a criminal ring of officials who stole $250 million in tax money. The legislation is designed to target Russian officials involved in Magnitsky's detention, abuse or death.

Another Just Russia Party Member praised the Magnitsky Act while calling the ban on adoptions "despicable."



"First of all, I think the Magnitsky law is pro-Russian -- let's start with that -- because it forbids swindlers, thieves and bandits from entering the territory of the United States. They steal our money here, kill our citizens, and then they want to go there for vacation, to study and to spend that money. Therefore it's absolutely pro-Russian. Concerning these absolutely insane amendments (banning adoptions), it's an absolutely despicable decision, like in one Soviet film where Germans tortured our children to get evidence from prisoners of war, it's the same sort of thing."



The Russian adoption bill is named after Dima Yakovlev, a Russian boy who died after his adoptive U.S. father left him locked in a car for hours. U.S. courts later acquitted the father of manslaughter charges.

Olga Batalina, from the ruling United Russia party, said the measure was about the rights and treatment of children adopted in the United States.



"If there is a doubt that on the territory of the United States there will not be an adequate level of safety provided for a child, this is serious grounds for the suspension and ban of adoption. Unfortunately, the current position of American authorities speaks of their extreme indifference to the fate of Russian children."

Chakarian Vivian Rose

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

VOA Blogs