Topic: US Adoption Ban
- Thousands Gather in Downtown Moscow to Protest US Adoptions Ban
- US Senate Appeals to Russia to Reconsider Adoption Law
- Prospective US Parents Ride Emotional Adoption Rollercoaster
- Kremlin Says Shares Protesters’ Concerns over Russian Orphans
MOSCOW, January 13 (Marc Bennetts, RIA Novosti) - Thousands of people braved freezing temperatures in Moscow on Sunday afternoon to protest a government ban on adoptions of Russian children by US nationals, as well as to call for the dissolution of parliament, which initiated the legislation.
“Hands off the children!” chanted protesters as they streamed through boulevards a short distance from the Kremlin, while a police helicopter hovered above. Some protesters carried placards portraying lawmakers who voted for the ban to a waiting dumpster.
Protest organizers said some 50,000 people had attended the march, while police put the figure at just 9,500. Nine people were detained at the rally for “breaking laws governing participation in mass events,” police said.
“It’s disgusting that our politicians are using children as political pawns,” said protester Tatiana Shilova, a 45-year-old real estate agent. “I refuse to recognize a parliament that would do such a thing.”
Opponents of the ban say it effectively condemns Russian children in state care to lives of misery in what they say are underfunded and sometimes brutal institutions, referred to in Russian as “children’s homes.” Nearly 130,000 children were eligible for adoption in the country as of late December, according to official figures. In 2011, that number was 82,000, while just 7,400 were adopted by Russian nationals that year.
“I’ve never come out to a protest before, but this law is the last straw,” Shilova added.
A host of famous Russian actors and writers spoke out against the law in the run-up to the march, urging people to take to the streets.
“If we remain indifferent to this…we are accomplices. It’s as simple as that,” writer Viktor Shenderovich said in a video address uploaded to social networks.
“Just imagine, there are some sick children, without moms or dads, living in terrible children’s homes,” said Tatyana Dogileva, an actress, in another video address.
“Their parents have already come to see them, from America, and said, ‘We are your mom and dad.’ They’ve already shown them the house where they will live,” she went on. “And then the politicians play their dirty, awful games.”
The adoption ban, which came into force January 1, is part of Russia’s wider response to the United States’ so-called Magnitsky Act, which introduces sanctions against Russian officials suspected of involvement in human rights abuses. The US law – which the Kremlin called a “purely political, unfriendly act” – was named after Sergei Magnitsky, a whistleblowing lawyer who died under disputed circumstances in a Moscow pre-trial detention center in 2009.
The ban will affect almost all of the children – some with serious illnesses – now at various stages of the adoption process by US families, which the US State Department estimated last week at 500-1,000.
Over 60,000 Russian children have been adopted by American families in the last 20 years, including around 1,000 in 2011, according to US State Department figures. In introducing the controversial ban late last year, Russian lawmakers cited the deaths of 19 of those children, since 1999, at the hands of their US adoptive parents and President Vladimir Putin signed the bill into law just before the New Year.
The ban has split public opinion in Russia and provoked rare open criticism from government figures, with even Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov speaking out against it.
Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told the online TV channel Dozhd on Sunday that he understood that people were concerned by the law, but said it was aimed at creating the "necessary conditions" to improve Russian orphanages and allow more Russian families to adopt. But he also called criticized calls for the dissolution of the two houses of parliament as "disrespectful."
A top lawmaker from the ruling United Russia party, Andrei Isayev, appeared to threaten protesters on the eve of the rally.
“Let’s look attentively and remember the faces of the organizers and active participants of this rally,” he wrote on his party’s official website. “Our task in the years to come is to drive them to the farthest corners of political and public life, to the middle of nowhere.” Isayev also dubbed the protesters “child-sellers.”
Some 56 percent of Russians indicated they are in favor of the ban in a poll released by the Public Opinion Fund in late December. But Putin’s decision to approve what he called an “adequate” response to the Magnitsky Act has also further highlighted the divide between the authorities and the urban, educated class that has formed the backbone of the ongoing protests against his 13-year rule as president and prime minister.
While most high-profile figures in the protest movement stayed out of the limelight on Sunday, leaving the organization to civil activists, protesters combined calls for a repeal of the adoption ban with chants such as “Putin is a thief.”
Sergei Udaltsov, the leftist leader facing jail on charges of plotting to overthrow Putin, was the sole well-known opposition figure to play a leading role in Sunday’s rally.
Udaltsov’s Left Front movement was just one of a number of leftist and nationalist movements to put aside their anti-US rhetoric to participate in the demonstration.
“I am against capitalism and US foreign policies,” Udaltsov said at the rally. “But we are all united here against this terrible law.”
The ban was overwhelmingly approved by Russia’s lower house of parliament, the State Duma, and unanimously by its upper house, the Federation Council, in voting in December.
Yekaterina Lakhova, the United Russia lawmaker who sponsored the ban, said she had paid a visit to the rally to see for herself the people opposed to the law, but left early due to the cold.
“These people…are always disgruntled about something,” she told Dozhd.
Much smaller marches against the ban also took place in a number of other Russian cities.
Updated with correct number of children eligible for adoption.
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- gunshipdemocracyUS henchmen do what they paid for20:36, 13/01/2013they did not protest when Russian kids were raped, abused and finally KILLED by Americans. Not a word from them.
Now CIA paid and monkeys do what they are paid and trained for.
- jg(no title)13:12, 14/01/2013I doubt that the CIA or the US government really care about this issue. The ban may inconvenience some Americans who had planned to adopt a child from Russia but for the USA as a whole, it means less costs to look after another country's children.
Perhaps the good thing that can come out of this is if some more of Russia's gas and oil money is spent on their own orphans, rather than expecting foreigners to do it.
- bielecWhat's the purpose, what's the goal?22:20, 13/01/2013It seems that the opposition will use every possible occasion to organize protests and demonstrations.
If they are so concerned about Russian orphans, why don't THEY adopt them? Why do they want so badly to give Russian children away to the Americans? If each demonstrator adopted one child, that would solve much of the problem.
Ah, but then you wouldn't have one more excuse to demonstrate. And you would have to bring these children up. That's harder than to demonstrate. I see... it's not about the children. It's about politics.
- jg(no title)13:20, 14/01/2013"If they are so concerned about Russian orphans, why don't THEY adopt them?"
Agreed and the same applies to those Russians who support the ban. If Russians are now suddenly concerned about these orphaned and rejected chidren, why don't Russians adopt them or at least, use some of Russia's oil and gas money to pay for necessary medical treatment, instead of leaving them to die out of sight in an orphanage?
- rochefortfrancoisbla bla bla13:30, 14/01/2013Child Import Agency (CIA)...Please give us a break!
- bielecTo jg:16:34, 14/01/2013If you are so concerned about children, you should become more vocal about the black neighborhood schools in the US. Russian orphanages are better equipped and taken care of than many American schools.
And then, you are forgetting that Russian kids were abused by American parents, so they may be better off in Russian orphaneges than in American homes.
Why would Russian children want to go to America, anyway? It became a police state, the economy is crumbling, media lie and manipulate public opinion worse than in Soviet Union, there is no future, the American dream is over. It's better to stay in Russia.
- jg(no title)04:42, 15/01/2013AFAIK, US law bans segregation in schools but I am not American, so you may well be right about educational facilities in Russian orphanages.
The numbers suggest that the vast majority of Russian children adopted in the USA are not subject to abuse and many of the sick or disabled children adopted have subsequently received medical treatment that they had not received in Russia. It is terrible that any of these children have been abused and sad that the US justice system seems to be inadequate when non-US citizens are involved. If Russia had completed the ratification of the relevant protocol of the Hague Convention, the Russian government would have had more control and oversight over all international adoptions.
However, the real shame here is with Russia. Russia is no longer a poor country - it is one of only 5 countries in the G20 with spare cash. Russia can afford a space programme and a defence industry which builds nuclear submarines. If Russians care so much about these children, why are they not adopting them and why are they not ensuring that they receive the necessary medical treatment?
- arsanlupinMore mindless hatred - accent on the mindless00:43, 15/01/2013I find it amusing that every time you closet Bolsheviks complain about something, you feel the need to blame some outside force, with the USA in general and its CIA in particular as a favorite bogeyman to blame all of the world’s troubles. I guess it’s a combination of mindless hatred of something you know nothing about, and plain laziness. You don’t even try to imagine that something else may be the cause of something, because you would have to THINK to do so – and you’re either unwilling or unable to do so.
Why don’t Russian citizens adopt more of their orphans? Several reasons combine to make it impossible – most of them numbers. One is demographics: Russia has seven times the orphans the USA has (700,000/104,000), with half the population (142 million/313 million). Another is income – average individual income in Russia is $13,911 per year – a third of the average American salary of $37,708. Most Russians are struggling just to survive; adopting a child would be more than they can handle. That’s if the child is normal and healthy – and many Russian orphans aren’t. Russia’s public healthcare is a sick joke, and private healthcare is as expensive as it is in The West. Russian homes are one quarter the size of homes in the USA; already cramped flats have no space for another occupant.
Last but not least is orphan mortality: of the 60,000+ orphans adopted by American families, 19 died of other than natural causes. During the same time period 1220 adopted children dies of other than natural causes in Russia – 64 times the death rate. As a rather clever fellow said about 2000 years ago: “How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye.” I address that last to everyone in favor of the adoption ban, because all of you are pitiful excuses for human beings – more so if you don’t recognize the above quote.
- bielecTo arsanlupin:07:49, 15/01/2013As for someone who thinks that the USA and CIA are politically and morally clean, your opinions on Russian orphans are equally accurate.
I am not going to argue all your points and statistics. I will just point to one:
You cannot simply say, "...an average individual income in Russia is $13,911 per year – a third of the average American salary of $37,708." This comparison is useless. The cost of living in Russia is at least three times lower than that in the USA or Canada, or any Western country. The rent, the car insurance, food, gasoline, public transportation, and other prices of necessities are many times lower.
The number of obese children in Russia is also lower than that in the USA. Perhaps, being poorer translates into being healthier.
As to your statistics on how many children and where die of other than natural causes, I would encourage you to voice your concerns regarding thousands of Iraqi children who died as a result of US sanctions, the US invasion, and US instigated sectarian violence in that previously peaceful and prosperous country. Or, go and publish your concerns about Lebanese and Palestinian children bombed by the heroic Israeli pilots with the support of the US government.
Stop the double-standard. Your hypocrisy is unacceptable.
- PlutardesWhy America did not invade Russia after Cold War16:57, 15/01/2013The former Soviet Union suddenly, surprisingly ended the Cold War when the whole West never expected so; the USA did not give an appropriate answer and repented a lot for not invading and occcupying Russia until nowadays to really give the American available response not doing it until today to the Address of USSR President, Mikail Gorbachev ending the Soviet Union when Russia gave up the Cold War as its own and only initiative. These days all the USA military is engaged in winning defintely the Cold War, if not totally, at least partially. There is no war between America and Russian Federatio because the US cannot give up its position as the biggest economy in the World and the USA does not want to quit its global involvements and its allies wealth. The United States cannot go back to change past destiny of not claiming any victory over Russia as long as the Cold War of the past is not concerned.
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