Russians March Against Foreign Adoptions

Pro-Kremlin activists are marching in Moscow to call on authorities to ban all foreign adoptions and demand the return of an adopted boy whose brother died in Texas.

Police estimated the turnout at the event in the Russian capital at around 12,000 people.

The demonstration comes one day after U.S. authorities ruled the death in January of 3-year-old Max Shatto, born Maksim Kuzmin in Russia, to have been “accidental.”

Irina Bergset, coordinator of the movement Russian Mothers, told media that the group also was demanding a “more thorough investigation” into Shatto’s death.

RFE/RL’s Russian Service LIVE-STREAMED VIDEO from the scene of the Moscow protest (in Russian)

Officials in Ector County, Texas determined that bruises and other injuries before Shatto’s death were caused by a medical condition and said his death was due to blunt force to the abdomen. 

He reportedly died when his mother briefly left him and his brother, Kristopher, alone to go inside their home.

Texas authorities did not rule out possible charges in the case but said the death was an accident.

The death of the boy has caused furor in Russia, where officials accused the child’s adoptive mother of drugging and “murdering” him.

Texas sources have questioned how Russian officials presumed to know details of the case that did not appear to match their own investigations.

Kristopher, adopted by the same Texas family, is Max’s biological brother.

Russian officials have cited the case as they dismiss criticism of Moscow’s politically charged ban on U.S. adoptions, which was a response to U.S. legislation punishing Russia for perceived rights abuses in the Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act.

Based on reporting by AFP, ITAR-TASS, and RFE/RL

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