MOSCOW, December 28 - RAPSI. President Vladimir Putin has signed into law a bill barring U.S. citizens from adopting children from Russia, the Kremlin's press service reported.
The new law will come into effect on January 1, 2013. Apart from ban on the adoption of Russian children by Americans, it introduces a number of measures against U.S. citizens who violated the rights of Russians, committed crimes against them, or were involved in these types of crimes. The document also envisages the drafting of a list of U.S. citizens who will be prohibited from entering Russia, and will suspend the activity of any legal entities controlled by these individuals in the country.
The law is named after a two-year-old Russian boy, Dima Yakovlev, who died in 2008 after being left in a car by his adoptive US father who was later acquitted of manslaughter.
The Dima Yakovlev law was passed in retaliation for the US Magnitsky Act, stipulating visa sanctions for Russians who are believed by the senate members to have been involved in human rights violations. The ruling United Russia party members said that the bill commemorates all Russian children who died or suffered as a result of negligence on the part of their U.S. foster parents.
Russian officials have repeatedly expressed concern about the safety of Russian children adopted by US parents, and they have cited 19 cases in which Russian children have died at the hands of their adoptive American parents.
Critics of the law say an overwhelming amount of American/Russian adoptions are successful and that child abuse is a pressing issue inside Russia. They also accuse MPs of using orphans as political pawns. At the same time the Russian public has been largely supportive of the law, with 56 percent of respondents in an opinion poll conducted by the Public Opinion Foundation (FOM) saying they backed a ban on US nationals adopting Russian children.