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Russian Legislation Bans Americans From Adopting Orphans

The controversial battle between Russian and American politicians just took a new turn with legislation which bans Americans from adopting Russian Orphans. The change follows approval from Duma, the lower house of the Russian parliament, on Friday, December 21, 2012. The bill has not yet been signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin but has caused quite a stir among citizens within both countries.

Political insiders suspect the adoption ban is in retaliation for sanctions imposed by the U.S. as part of the Magnitsky Law enacted during early December 2012 by U.S. President Barack Obama. The law is considered a "name and shame" of Russian authorities who breach human rights, like that in the case of the late Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky. A human rights probe into the circumstances surrounding Magnitsky's 2009 death while imprisoned after he exposed a tax fraud by Russian officials is a "shocking human rights violation" by the U.S. Congress. The Magnitsky Laws have placed across the board sanctions against Russian officials suspected to be involved in the Magnitsky case - including Putin and "dozens" of others.

Russian officials fired back in response to the Magnitsky legislation insisting the preliminary steps toward the ban are because the U.S. has denied Russian lawmakers the opportunity to remain informed of the Russian adoptees' welfare following adoption by American families.

Many Russian and U.S. citizens are outraged over the change with several human rights groups in protest over the ban. As the Donaldson Adoption Institute's Adam Pertman offered in a statement to NPR, ultimately: "It's two countries duking it out. The adults are playing politics, and it's unfortunate to the extreme children are being used as pawns."

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