MOSCOW, April 17 (RIA Novosti) – Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on Wednesday that taking care of orphans was a “national task” that the country should solve on its own.
“Last year, 44,000 parents were deprived of their parental rights for various reasons. We must try to change this situation,” the prime minister said during a speech to the lower chamber of the Russian parliament, the State Duma.
“A country with an extremely rich culture and centuries-long traditions of compassion and charity is capable of dealing with these tasks on its own,” he added.
He said the state care system is currently responsible for almost 120,000 children and teenagers.
The issues of child welfare and domestic adoptions have been the subject of tense disputes in recent months, following the Russian government’s decision to halt the adoption of Russian children by US citizens late last year. The adoption ban, which was introduced in response to the Magnitsky Act – an American law that calls for US travel and financial sanctions against Russians deemed by the US government to have violated human rights – caused outcry both at home and abroad, with critics arguing that thousands of Russian children for whom adoptive parents had not been found in Russia have been adopted by US families in recent decades, including HIV-positive and disabled children whom Russians are less likely to adopt.