Russia’s Duma blocking U.S. adoptions of Russian orphans
If Russian lawmakers have their way, the best intentions of a U.S. investor could soon result in tragedy for thousands of Russian orphans and the U.S. families who would adopt them.
In recent weeks, Russia’s parliament has been grasping for a response to the Magnitsky Act, a bill lobbied for heavily by U.S. investor Bill Browder and signed into law last week by President Barack Obama. The law replaces Cold War-era trade restrictions with a mechanism denying entry to the U.S. for Russian officials involved in human-rights violations — and specifically in the 2009 jail death of 37-year-old Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian lawyer who had been defending the interests of the Hermitage Fund, an investment fund run by Browder.
Now, to the horror of many Russians, parliamentary deputy Yekaterina Lakhova believes she has found the answer: a total ban on the adoption of Russian children by U.S. families. The relevant bill gained preliminary approval Dec. 19, and awaits a final parliamentary vote.
“The response to the Magnitsky bill is a disgrace,” art gallery owner Marat Guelman wrote on Twitter. “The Americans have punished our officials; in retaliation, the parliament punishes orphans — also our own.”