Putin and the Children

Wall Street Journal

President Vladimir Putin on Friday signed into law a ban on adoptions of Russian children by U.S. citizens, with immediate and heart-wrenching impact.

As of Tuesday, none of the 120,000 or so abandoned and orphaned Russians currently eligible for adoption will be able to find a home in the U.S. In the past two decades, over 60,000 have done so, including disabled children who can’t get the care they need in Russia.

The U.S. has been the top foreign destination, though the number of adopted Russian children had come down to 1,000 annually in recent years. The fate of some 50 children who were in the final stages of adoption is unclear. In many cases they had met and bonded with would-be parents in America and now may not be allowed to join them.

The Russian law abrogates a bilateral agreement on adoption that went into force only last month. If Moscow can’t honor this kind of treaty, it’d be good to know why the Obama Administration expects to negotiate another arms control deal with this crowd.

The ban was rushed through the Russian parliament after the U.S. Congress passed the Magnitsky Act, which prohibits Russian human-rights abusers from visiting or banking in the U.S. The U.S. law was inspired by Sergei Magnitsky, a corruption whistleblower who died in Russian police custody in 2009, and it initially targets the officials implicated in his murder.

In retaliation, the Kremlin targeted Russian orphans and American parents, citing as justification a handful of cases of abuse among the thousands of adoptions. For good measure the Russian foreign ministry on Friday put the U.S. on par with South Sudan and Somalia in providing legal protections for children.

A sense of shame has rarely constrained Mr. Putin, who during his 12 years in power has razed Chechnya and jailed opponents. Still, Friday’s act will do more to sully Russia’s reputation abroad than anything else he’s accomplished. Over 100,000 Russians signed a petition gathered by the independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta against the law, and one of the most popular search terms in Russian on Twitter Friday was #putineatschildren.

The adoption ban appeals to Russian xenophobia and anti-Americanism, ripe ground for a regime of shaky political legitimacy. Not coincidentally, the same law further squeezes democracy activists by placing stricter limits on U.S. funding for local non-governmental organizations. In another outrage this week, a Moscow court acquitted the only person charged in Magnitsky’s death, freeing a doctor accused of negligence. Other officials who were involved were promoted.

Many Americans are perplexed and appalled by the adoption ban. They should see it as a byproduct of the Putin regime’s true nature and methods, and an illustration of why the Magnitsky Act was necessary. займ на карту без отказов круглосуточно займы онлайн на карту срочно https://zp-pdl.com/best-payday-loans.php www.zp-pdl.com buy over the counter medicines

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