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Russia’s parliament has unanimously approved a controversial law that bars American citizens from adopting Russian children. The move is seen as retaliation for recent U.S. laws that punish Russia for alleged human rights violations.
The bill has been controversial around the world and within Russia. Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov and Deputy Prime Minister Olga Golodets are two politicians against the measure, reports Euronews.
According to the Associated Press, many believe that it also deprives children the chance to escape life in an orphanage. Over the past 20 years, 60,000 Russian children have been adopted by U.S. parents and UNICEF believes that 740,000 children are without parental care in Russia.
Russian children's rights ombudsman Pavel Astakhov did support the bill, suggesting that foreign adoptions have dissuaded Russians from adopting Russian children. “A foreigner who has paid for an adoption always gets a priority compared to potential Russian adoptive parents,” he told Interfax, notes the AP. “A great country like Russia cannot sell its children.”
Michael McFaul, the U.S. ambassador to Russia, said he was disappointed by the law. “I agree with hundreds of thousands of Russia who want children removed from political debate,” he tweeted, reports The Wall Street Journal.
The law is seen as retaliation to the U.S.’ Magnitsky Act, which Russian President Vladimir Putin and other officials called hypocritical. It includes visa bans and will freeze the assets of Russian officials who were involved the case of Sergei Magnitsky, who died in a prison after revealing corruption in Russia in 2009.
Russian officials say that there are 46 Russian children in the process of being adopted by U.S. parents and they will be returned to the Russian national database.
Putin could sign the bill by the end of the week.