title: 'US adoption Russia Duma Children' published: true publish_date: '31-08-2016 14:56' taxonomy: category:

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    Debates raged and tempers flared on the Russian internet this past weekend over the Russian parliamentary bill that sought to ban Americans from adopting children from Russia. Opponents of the bill decried the fate of those Russian orphans who would be deprived of a chance to find a family. Meanwhile, the White House website hosted a petition calling for sanctions against Russian Duma deputies who voted for the bill – and that’s practically the entire lower house. Dmitry Linnik has been looking at the developments. (Audio above, transcript below) The past few years have seen a number of high-profile cases where Russian children adopted in the United States were abused or subjected to inhuman treatment. Nineteen of those children died. Russian lawmakers believe that those responsible have not been properly punished – and have for years been pushing for a meaningful two-way agreement with the US. The Dima Yakovlev bill was voted on soon after the so-called Magnitsky Act was adopted by the US Congress. The Magnitsky Act aims to impose travel and financial restrictions on Russian officials who are alleged to be implicated in the death of Sergei Magnitsky, an auditor of the Hermitage Capital hedge fund, who died in a pre-trial detention centre in Moscow in 2009. Coming as it did on the heels of the Magnitsky Act, the Dima Yakovlev bill has been dubbed the Anti-Magnitsky Act. Pavel Astakhov, the Russian president’s ombudsman for children’s rights, believes the linkage only clouds the real issue: "The most difficult thing in the situation is the linkage of the unfriendly Magnitsky Act with the Dima Yakovlev bill. They have obviously been linked but I think the response to the Magnitsky Act should have been different." Pavel Astakhov – and the overwhelming majority of the Duma Deputies – believe Russia is now strong enough economically and has enough pride to take care of its own children. Critics, though, point out that the Russian system of care and adoption is still woefully inadequate and US adoptions give many children a lifeline, often in the literal sense of the word. Astakhov agrees: "Of course the task of the state, of the government is to concentrate on improving things inside the country – if we put a stop to foreign adoptions, if we don’t want to rely on foreign patrons for our children to bring them up, to feed and clothe them, to treat any conditions they may have. In terms of numbers, we have one child in care per one thousand adults. So we have to find, screen, train and monitor two foster parents out of a thousand people. Is it something we can do? Of course we can." Statistics would seem to corroborate Astakhov’s view. Over the last ten years the number of US adoptions of Russian children steadily decreased – from around 5,000 to less than a thousand in 2011. And the US is not the only place where people are looking to adopt children from Russia – Italy, Spain have people queuing. Meanwhile, the Russian parliament has moved to ease adoption inside the country, and that’s probably where the future is headed. Russia needs guaranteed access to adopted Russian children in US - MP

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