News / Europe

Russians Protest Ban on Adoptions by American Parents

People march during a protest against Russia's new law banning Americans from adopting Russian children in Moscow, January 13, 2013.
People march during a protest against Russia's new law banning Americans from adopting Russian children in Moscow, January 13, 2013.
James Brooke
During the Christmas holidays, Russia's President Vladimir Putin signed into law a bill banning adoptions of Russian children by American parents.  Russia’s legislature overwhelmingly passed the law, retaliating for a new U.S. law that blocks Russian officials accused of corruption and  human rights violations from obtaining American visas or bank accounts.

With Russia’s long New Year’s break over, Russians responded Sunday to the adoption ban with the largest protest rally in Moscow since President Putin’s inauguration last May.

This time they braved freezing temperatures, tough new laws against protests, and a heavy police presence, complete with low-flying helicopters.  Police say 9,000 people turned out - about two protesters for every policeman.  Opposition activists said they counted 24,000 people passing through police metal detectors.

Job-search specialist Andrei Kazakevich was in one of the two long, parallel columns that walked in light snow up Moscow’s boulevard ring.  "I think It is crazy," he said of the new law. "I think it is ridiculous, outrageous.  It is hurting our children."

Anastasia, aged 17, came with her father, Yuri, and her two little brothers - both adopted.  She spoke as marchers derided Russia's Duma with shouts of "Shame!"  "I think that in every American family they will be in better situation and atmosphere than in Russian houses where there are orphans," she said.

Protests were also held Sunday in St. Petersburg, Yekaterinaburg and Omsk.

Last month, all but one of Russia’s political parties voted in a single bloc for the law in the Duma.  On Sunday, the Moscow protest appeared to be composed largely of independent voters.  Many marchers identified themselves as parents or grandparents.
 
Katia, a 39-year-old mother of a son, walked carrying a homemade sign.  It criticized the government "for taking revenge on children." 

“I am here against this bad, cannibalistic law,” she said.  She  added she is distressed the legislation was introduced by one of the few women in the Duma, Yekaterina Lakhova.

As the march started, Lakhova told a Moscow radio station she was surprised to see so many people turn out in support of what she called, "baby selling" to the United States.  She said in two decades Russia had lost 100,000 children to the United States.  American officials put the number of adoptions at 60,000.

As the debate turns increasingly to Russia's aging population, little mention is made of statistics that Russian women terminate more than one million pregnancies annually through induced abortions.

Independent city councilman Maxim Motin spoke as a police helicopter hovered overhead. He said the Duma reacted harshly out of fear European Union countries will pass similar laws, banning visas and bank accounts for Russian officials suspected of corruption and human rights violations.  

The American law was adopted in response to Russia’s inaction after the death three years ago in a Moscow prison of Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian lawyer for an American hedge fund.

Anna Glukhova, the 40-year-old mother of a daughter, came with her husband.  She said: "I think that is very bad to defend murderers of Magnitsky with our orphaned children."

Russia has 120,000 children awaiting adoption.  For years, the process has been blocked by bureaucracy.  Now it is blocked by nationalism.

You May Like

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike in Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Analysis: Occupy Central Not Exactly Hong Kong’s Tiananmen

VOA's former Hong Kong, Beijing correspondent compares and contrasts 1989 Tiananmen Square protest with what is now happening in Hong Kong More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Gennady from: Russia, Volga Region
January 13, 2013 9:18 PM
It’ good that in the FSB-run country still are many thousands people concerned with better future for all being born in Russia. In 12 years in dying-out country the regime has done nothing to about 1 mln of orphans and abandoned children. Now the regime uses them as a human shield to cover its exposure in Magnitsky murder and their threat to their millions $ amassed in foreign banks. The people participated in the peaceful protests were intimidated by excessive police presence and demonstration of brutal force. Russians know too well how lawless is Putin’s police.


by: Kate SD from: San Diego
January 13, 2013 3:20 PM
the number is actually over 720,000 orphans in Russia - not 120,000

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid