In retaliation for the United States placing sanctions on Russian human rights violators, the Russian parliament has passed a bill banning U.S. citizens from adopting Russian orphans. The action comes after President Obama signed the so-called “Magnitsky Act,” named for a Russian lawyer who died while in prison, into law on Dec. 14.
The Russians are responding with the Dima Yakovlev bill. The measure commemorates a young boy adopted from Russia who later died in the U.S and places travel sanctions on those Americans whom Russia has deemed violate the human rights of Russian citizens. The Russian Duma, or Parliament, voted unanimously in favor of the bill on Wednesday, and President Vladimir Putin is fully prepared to sign it into law. Putin attempted to head off criticism about the effect the ban will have on the already strained Russian system of care for its orphans:
In televised comments, Putin tried to appeal to people’s patriotism by suggesting that strong and responsible countries should take care of their own and lent his support to a bill that has further strained U.S.-Russia relations.
“There are probably many places in the world where living standards are higher than ours. So what, are we going to send all our children there? Maybe we should move there ourselves?” he said, with sarcasm.
Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister for Social Affairs Olga Golodets says that putting the ban into effect would not only violate Russian federal law, but also international law and a 2011 agreement that the U.S. and Russia put into place regarding adoption. At present, Americans adopt more orphans from Russian than they do any other country.