Rus­sian par­lia­ment wants to ban Amer­i­can adop­tions

Austin American-Statesman - - THE SECOND FRONT - Byjim Heintz

MOSCOW — Rus­sia’s par­lia­ment on Wed­nes­day gave over­whelm­ing ap­proval to a pre­lim­i­nary mea­sure ban­ning Amer­i­cans from adopt­ing Rus­sian chil­dren, a harsh re­tal­ia­tory move against U.S. hu­man rights leg­is­la­tion.

But the pro­posal ap­pears to be too ex­treme for some se­nior Rus­sian of­fi­cials. The for­eign min­is­ter and the ed­u­ca­tion min­is­ter spoke out flatly against an adop­tion ban, and the speaker of the up­per house of par­lia­ment, a close ally of Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin, sug­gested the lower house mem­bers were let­ting emo­tions over­take ra­tio­nal­ity.

Putin him­self, who has the author­ity to veto leg­is­la­tion, has made no pub­lic com­ment on the adop­tion pro­vi­sion. But his spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, in­di­cated Wed­nes­day the Rus­sian leader re­gards it as ex­ces­sive.

Peskov told the In­ter­fax news agency that, although Putin un­der­stands the emo­tions that prompted the move, “the ex­ec­u­tive pow­ers are tak­ing a more re­strained line.”

Be­fore be­com­ing law, the mea­sure has to pass a third read­ing in the State Duma, which is set for Fri­day, af­ter which it would go to the up­per house, the Fed­er­a­tion Coun­cil, and then re­quire Putin’s sig­na­ture.

The leg­is­la­tion fur­ther steps up an­i­mos­ity with Washington by call­ing for clo­sure of po­lit­i­cal or­ga­ni­za­tions in Rus­sia that re­ceive Amer­i­can fund­ing.

Both stric­tures were in­cluded as amend­ments in the sec­ond read­ing in the State Duma of a bill prompted by last week’s sign­ing by Pres­i­dent Barack Obama of a U.S. law that al­lows sanc­tions against Rus­sians deemed to be hu­man rights vi­o­la­tors.

The U.S. law re­opened a vein of deep re­sent­ment among many Rus­sians over the United States’ al­leged med­dling in Rus­sian domestic af­fairs and Wash- in­g­ton’s per­ceived con­de­scen­sion to­ward Moscow.

Putin has ac­cused the U.S. of fund­ing the wave of protests that rose against him over the past year and strongly crit­i­cized the new U.S. law.

Many Rus­sians have long bris­tled at the adop­tion of Rus­sian chil­dren by Amer­i­cans, sen­si­tive to the im­pli­ca­tion that Rus­sians are hard-hearted or eco­nom­i­cally un­able to take care of their own. The re­sent­ment is fanned by cases of abuse or deaths of Rus­sian chil­dren adopted by Amer­i­cans.

The anger hit the boil­ing point in 2010 when an Amer­i­can woman sent back a 7-year-old Rus­sian boy she had adopted, say­ing he had be­hav­ioral prob­lems and she didn’t want him any­more.

In the wake of that episode, and af­ter long de­lay, Rus­sia in July rat­i­fied an agree­ment with the U.S. on reg­u­lat­ing adop­tions. If the mea­sure ap­proved on Wed­nes­day be­comes law, Rus­sia would ab­ro­gate that agree­ment.

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