Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that he will sign a bill to ban all US adoptions. The bill would keep Americans from adopting Russian children.
It is the latest move in a war of laws between the two countries, coming after the US passed a law that implicated Russian officials in the prison death of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky in 2009.
The Guardian reports that the US law prevents those officials from traveling to or keeping money in the US. The response by Russia has been controversial at best. Critics of Putin’s administration have accused the president of holding children hostage to politics.
Included in his critics have been several loyal ministers. The bill was passed unanimously by the upper house of parliament on Wednesday. Putin has stated of the bill:
“So far I see no reason not to sign it. I’m ready to sign not only the law … but also a presidential decree that will modify the support mechanisms for orphaned children.”
Al Jazeera notes that the bill to ban US adoptions in Russia has been called the strongest piece of anti-Western legislation that has been considered during Putin’s 13 years of rule.
Americans have adopted more than 60,000 Russian children in the past 20 years, according to statistics from the US State Department. Patrick Ventrell, spokesman for the State Department, stated that “it is misguided to link the fate of children to unrelated political considerations.”
Some critics of the bill have said that Russian orphanages are hopelessly crowded and the fate of orphaned children should not be held as a bargaining chip in tensions between Russia and the US. Sigayeva, who heads the New Hope Christian Services Adoption Agency, stated:
“These children are not even offered to foreigners until they get a certain number of [adoption] refusals from Russians. These are children with complicated diagnoses, really complicated. They are very ill children.”
Should Putin sign the law to ban US adoptions, the 46 adoptions currently pending could be abandoned on January 1, when the law goes into effect.