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

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor warns of obesity’s worldwide health impact 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.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
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.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs