MOSCOW, January 27 (RIA Novosti) – The ban on adoption of Russian children by Americans has no relation to the US Magnitsky Act, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said in the interview with CNN on Sunday.
The Dima Yakovlev Law, banning adoptions of Russian orphans by Americans, was introduced late last year and is seen as part of Moscow’s response to the US Magnitsky Act, signed into law by President Barack Obama in December.
The Magnitsky Act calls for US travel and financial sanctions against Russian citizens deemed by the American government to have violated human rights.
“The so-called Dima Yakovlev Law is in fact a law which expresses the concerns of Russia’s parliament, the Russian State Duma and the Federation Council, by the fate of our children,” Medvedev said, adding that the law is an “emotional” move which is “neither in fact nor in law” linked to the Magnitsky Act.
“However, many people viewed it as an action aimed against certain American citizens who want to adopt Russian children, but it’s not about it. It about another thing: we must finally take all the necessary decisions so that there are no orphans in Russia anymore,” the prime minister said.
Since the law banning US adoptions was passed, Russia’s leadership has been encouraging Russian families to adopt more children.
Figures from the US State Department show more than 60,000 Russian children adopted by American families in the last 20 years, including 962 last year.
“A large number of American families who adopted Russian children really provide the correct care, upbringing and education. And in that case, they get high marks. This is the highly moral attitude. But unfortunately, in our country we know a lot of cases when children adopted by American parents died or were tortured or lost their health in the U.S., and even one such case would be enough to suggest the draft of a law for consideration,” Medvedev said.
Russian officials blame US adoptive parents for the deaths of at least 19 of those children. The adoption ban is named after Dima Yakovlev (known also by his American name, Chase Harrison), a Russian toddler who died of heatstroke in 2008 after his American adoptive father left him in an overheated car for hours.
“Unfortunately, the information which we believe about the fate of Russian children adopted in the United States does not make anyone happy,” Medvedev said.