Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed into effect a law banning American citizens from adopting Russian children — an act that immediately ended the hopes of 46 orphans waiting to be adopted by American families. According to NBC News, more than 60,000 Russian children have been adopted by U.S. citizens in the past 20 years.

Many see this bill as a form of retaliation towards America’s recent Magnitsky Act, which imposes sanctions against Russian officials accused of human rights violations. Russian Parliament, however, says this action is in response to recent cases of Russian children adopted by American families being abused or killed.

The bill itself is named after Dima Yakovlev, a Russian orphan adopted by a Virginia family who died of heatstroke after his adoptive father forgot him in a car for more than nine hours. The father was found not guilty of involuntary manslaughter. Supporters of the Dima Yakovlev Law cite 19 cases in which Russian adoptees have been mistreated.

The U.S. State Department released a statement of opposition Thursday, saying, “The welfare of children is simply too important to tie to the political aspects of our relationship,” says spokesman Patrick Ventrell.

Citizens opposed to the bill placed dozens of stuffed toys and candles outside Russian parliament in protest, while an independent newspaper, Novaya Gazeta, submitted a petition to the Russian government — with more than 100,000 signatures — stating their opposition to the new law.

The bill will go into effect January 1 and any pending adoptions between the U.S. and Russia will in effect be nullified.

Source: NBC News, The Daily Beast


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