MOSCOW – A bill that bans U.S. couples from adopting Russian children was signed on Friday by Russian President Vladimir Putin. The bill is seen by a many as a retaliation for a US law. As Al Jazeera.com reports, a recently approved American law bans Russian officials involved in the death of attorney Sergei Magnitsky from entering the country. The controversial law will be put into effect on January 1, 2013 and is considered Mr Putin’s strongest anti-Western bill.
The U.S. is the biggest destination for adopted children and more than 60,000 children have been taken in by American parents over the past two decades. The U.S. State Department has said it regrets Parliament’s decision to pass the bill, arguing it would prevent many children from growing up in families. Children’s rights ombudsman Pavel Astakhov says that 46 children who were about to be adopted in the U.S. would remain in Russia if the bill comes into effect. Putin has said that U.S. authorities routinely let Americans suspected of violence toward Russian adoptees go unpunished.
The passage of the bill followed weeks of a hysterical media campaign on Kremlin-controlled television that lambasts American adoptive parents and adoption agencies that allegedly bribe their way into getting Russian children. A few lawmakers claimed that some Russian children were adopted by Americans only to be used for organ transplants and become sex toys or cannon fodder for the U.S. Army. A spokesman with Russia’s dominant Orthodox Church said that the children adopted by foreigners and raised outside the church will not “enter God’s kingdom.”