In a move that may sour relations both at home and with the U.S., Russian President Vladimir Putin said he sees "no reason not to sign" a controversial law that would ban American citizens from adopting Russian children. The law was passed after a unanimous vote in the upper chamber of Parliament on Wednesday, and during a public appearance on Thursday, Putin made it clear that he was preparing to sign it into law.
The adoption law was drafted in response to another law signed by President Obama earlier this month that was meant to be a rebuke against Moscow for repeated human rights violations. The "Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act" places travel and economic restrictions on Russian citizens accused of violating human rights. Magnitsky was a Russian lawyer who was arrested in 2008 after uncovering a massive tax fraud scheme involving police and other government officials. He later died in prison under mysterious circumstances, prompting human rights activists to push for more investigations and for more pressure to be placed on the Kremlin for their abuse record. (The Russian government even tried to prosecute Magnitsky two years after he died.)
As retaliation, the Russian law is named after Dima Yakovelv, an orphan who was adopted by an American family but later died after his father left in an overheated car. Nearly 1,000 Russian children are adopted by American families each year, though there have several controversial incidents that have aggravated tensions between the two countries. In 2010, an American mother sent her adopted child back to Russia because of his behavioral problems.
Despite the issues with international adoptions, many Russians are upset about the law, saying that there are too many unwanted children in Russia would be denied a chance a better life if the law takes effect. One expert says there are more than 40 adoptions currently being processed that would have to be canceled if the law is signed.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.