By Alexandra Sandacz
Impunity Watch Reporter, Europe
MOSCOW, Russia – On Sunday, thousands of individuals gathered in Moscow to protest Russia’s new law banning Americans from adopting Russian children. A vast number of individuals showed their outrage with President Vladimir Putin and expressed their rage with his government’s ability to make orphans a counter attack on the United States in a political dispute.
The new anti-adoption law was rushed through parliament in response to a recent U.S. law that places sanctions on Russian officials suspected of involvement in human rights abuses.
Despite the winter conditions, police reported that an estimated 9,500 people participated in the march, including many with children and baby strollers. However, opposition organizers put the figure at 30,000 or more.
Protestors continuously shouted “shame on the scum,” and hoisted in the air posters of President Vladimir Putin and members of Russia’s parliament who voted for the retaliation law last month.
Individuals who oppose the new adoption ban believe it victimizes children to make a political point. Furthermore, the ban is evidence that Putin and his parliament have lost the moral right to maintain power in Russia.
Former Duma Deputy, Gennady Gudkov, also attended the march. She stated, “I disagree with this law, I think that the authorities now are in a state of hysteria, they are totally lost. They don’t understand what to do with the country, for the country, for the people.
Interestingly, the loudest voice to oppose the new anti-adoption law is a blind Russian high schooler. Natasha Pisarenko blogged sarcastically, “Mr. Putin was ‘saving children from American evil,’ and Russians rarely adopt disabled children because the country’s medical system is backward and can’t take care of them. They [the children] die because Russia doesn’t have modern medicine.”
Concluding, Natasha challenged Mr. Putin to adopt five or 10 children with serious congenital disorders.
The Kremlin, however, has used the adoption controversy to accuse the opposition as “unpatriotic and in the pay of the Americans.”
Likewise, Russian lawmakers justified the adoption ban by 19 deaths of Russian-born children who were adopted by American parents. The law is named after Dima Yakovlev, a boy who died after his adoptive American father left him locked in a sweltering car. Lawmakers believe U.S. Courts and police are too lenient with the deceased children’s American parents.
When Putin signed the law at the end of December, he also ordered improvements of conditions to be made for orphaned children, and the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, encouraged Russians to adopt.
For further information, please see:
The Washington Times – Blind teen sees inequality in Russia’s adoption ban – 14 January 2013
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – Thousands March in Moscow Against Adoption Ban – 13 January 2013
Reuters – Russians protest against ban on adoptions by Americans – 13 January 2013
USA Today – Thousands march to protest Russia’s adoption ban – 13 January 2013