It is deplorable how the Russian government is treating its orphaned children by using them as political pawns, and in the process, depriving them of a better life.
Prompting international outrage, President Vladimir Putin signed a law on Friday that bans Americans from adopting Russian children. The new law takes effect on January 1. The law will also outlaw some non-governmental organizations that receive U.S. funding and impose a visa ban and asset freeze on Americans accused of violating the rights of Russians abroad.
The new law is stopping the in-process adoptions of 52 Russian children by American families, according to Russia’s child rights commissioner, Pavel Astakhov.
Pro-Kremlin lawmakers initially drafted the bill to mirror the U.S. Magnitsky Act, which bars entry to Russians accused of involvement in the death in custody of anti-corruption lawyer Sergei Magnitsky and other alleged rights abuses.
Seeking to dampen criticism of the move, Putin also signed a decree ordering an improvement in care for orphans.
Critics of the Russian legislation say Putin has held the welfare of children trapped in an crowded and troubled orphanage system hostage to political maneuvering.
According to the U.S. State Department, there are over 60,000 Russian children that have been adopted by American families over the past 20 years.