Today Vladimir Putin signed the new Russian law that will prevent Americans from adopting Russian children. Taking effect January 1, it halts adoptions in process as well as adoptions whose completion is imminent.
The New York Daily News reports that Russia has 740,000 children not in parental custody with 18,000 Russians standing in line to adopt children. The law is aimed at Americans and suffused with anti-American animus as well as Russian nationalism:
The measure is retaliation for an American law that calls for sanctions against Russian officials deemed human rights violators. The U.S. State Department has said it regrets Parliament’s decision to pass the bill, arguing it would prevent many children from growing up in families….
Putin has said that U.S. authorities routinely let Americans suspected of violence toward Russian adoptees go unpunished.
The passage of the bill followed weeks of a hysterical media campaign on Kremlin-controlled television that lambasts American adoptive parents and adoption agencies that allegedly bribe their way into getting Russian children.
A few lawmakers claimed that some Russian children were adopted by Americans only to be used for organ transplants and become sex toys or cannon fodder for the U.S. Army. A spokesman with Russia’s dominant Orthodox Church said that the children adopted by foreigners and raised outside the church will not “enter God’s kingdom.”
Some joke about the Obama’s vaunted “reset” of relations with Russia is obligatory, but none comes to mind. In mainstream media news reports, the Wall Street Journal article on the new law is the only one I have seen that considers the element of “reset” (although the long New York Times article on the new law isn’t bad). The Journal reports:
Thursday’s official reaction to Mr. Putin’s comments came from a State Department spokesman, who expressed “deep concerns” about the adoption ban and said the U.S. is “deeply troubled by the provisions in the bill that would restrict the ability of Russian civil-society organizations to work with American partners.”
Senior U.S. officials didn’t respond to requests for further comment.
I’ll just say that if things get any better we may find ourselves in a shooting war.