Thousands of people hit the frosty streets of Moscow on March 2 to take part in a march supporting Russian motherhood and children.
Many attended to show support for a government ban on US adoptions of Russian children, carrying banners with messages such as “Goodbye America!” and “Give back our children!”
Tensions between Moscow and Washington over the ban flared up again this week – as Russian officials suggested that the death of three-year-old Max Shatto, adopted in America, may have been the result of abuse.
One protester said, “I believe that Russian children should stay here and be raised by Russian citizens, within our traditions and our families. We have strong traditions that we must pass on.”
But anti-US messages are only part of the picture. Many of the protesters also called for improvements in Russia’s own care system, echoing President Vladimir Putin’s demands for better care for orphans in their homeland.
Max Shatto died in Texas in January and US authorities ruled it an accident. The Shattos’ lawyer argued that Max had behavioural issues, citing these as a reason for bruises found on his body. The Russian authorities have launched their own investigation.