Russia’s lower house of parliament will consider the second reading of a bill that prohibits any US involvement in the adoption of Russian children. The unofficially named ‘Dima Yakovlev bill’ bans both individual adoptions by US citizens and US companies, and organizations acting as intermediaries for those who seek to adopt Russian kids. The bill was approved by the State Duma legislation committee in an initial reading on December 14 and could go into effect as soon as January 2013 if approved by the lower house of parliament. Dima Yakovlev was a Russian toddler who died of heat stroke after his adoptive American father forgot him in a car in the summer heat in 2008. The father was cleared in court for involuntary manslaughter.
The Russian bill comes as a retaliatory move after the US Congress passed the ‘Magnitsky List’ on December 6, targeting people who have allegedly been involved in the death in custody of Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky in Moscow in 2009.Russian parliamentarians also submitted a draft law to Duma on December 10, calling for sanctions against Americans accused of violating the rights of Russian citizens. The draft proposed measures such as economic and visa sanctions or deportation from Russia of those who committed crimes against Russian citizens or were involved in covering them up. Russia had previously suspended US adoptions temporarily, citing abuse of its children in the United States. The two countries, however, agreed on a bilateral agreement that gave Russia more oversight of adoptions. According to official figures, the number of Russian children adopted in the United States went down to 962 in 2011 from a peak of 5,862 in 2004. TE/HSN