The anti-adoption law which has been approved by the upper chamber of the Russian parliament is named for Dima Yakovlev. The Russian-born toddler died of heat stroke when his adoptive American father forgot him in his car.
According to one senator, the vote is an appropriate response to a recently passed anti-Russian law in the United States.
“The Dima Yakovlev Bill is an emotional, undoubtedly emotional response to the Magnitsky Act which violates many international norms. It is an adequate response by the Russian Federation,” said Senate member Ruslan Gattarov.
The bill has divided opinion in Russia. Sergey Lavrov the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Deputy Prime Minister Olga Golodets – who considers it conflicts with an agreement already in place with the US – are two against it. On the streets of the capital some voiced their opposition.
“I am against it, kids shouldn’t be mixed up in this. The fact that our officers are banned from entering the U.S. – children are not responsible for that – it’s their problem and not that of the kids,” said Vox Pop Moscow Lawyer Vyacheslav.
President Vladimir Putin now has 15 days to sign off the bill. During his first annual press conference earlier this month since he returned to the presidency he stressed Russia should not rely on America.
“The vast majority of Russian citizens are very negative about foreigners adopting our children. We need to do it ourselves. We need to start getting our families to take in those children who are orphans or who have been left without parental care.”
Last year just over 960 Russian children were adopted by Americans while more than 45,000 have been found homes since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Galina Sigayeva of the New Hope Adoption Agency believes the bill could lead to a systemic failure. “Only those children whom Russians have already refused are sent to America. It’s no big secret that most children are adopted by people in the United States. Those children who will otherwise remain here – well I can’t even imagine who will take them. I even think it will lead to a systemic crisis. As far as I know, when we had a temporary six-month adoption ban in the past, hospitals were overwhelmed and there was no room in the orphanages or hospitals for children”.
The Russian Children’s Ombudsman claims 19 children adopted in the United States have died in ten years. NGOs say official figures show over 1,200 children adopted by Russian families over a 15 year period are dead.