Russia’s ban on American adoptions won’t go into effect until next year
The Kremlin suddenly announced Thursday evening that a new law banning adoptions by Americans would not
go into effect for another year, as criticism of the measure galvanizes the
The move brings hope to Americans whose efforts to adopt Russian children
were cut short by the enactment of the law in late December, but it is not clear
what practical effect the delay will have. A protest against the law is planned
for Sunday in Moscow.
An adoption agreement between Russia and the United States reached last year
remains in force, Dmitri Peskov, the main Kremlin
spokesman, told the RIA Novosti news agency Thursday. He pointed out that the
agreement requires 12 months’ notice for either side to withdraw. Russia, he
said, delivered that notice to the U.S. Embassy on Jan. 1, although until now it
has been portrayed as an immediate cancellation.
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the United States did not
know what the Kremlin announcement means for adoptions already in progress. “We
are very hopeful that in the spirit of the original agreement and out of
humanitarian concern that we will be able to work through those cases that had
been begun,” she said.
As Russians return from their long New Year’s break, it has become clear that
the adoption issue has struck a deep chord here and energized a dispirited
opposition. The law was intended as a snub to the United States, but many here
say its primary victims are Russian orphans.
Evidence of the nasty and manipulative nature of the debate over adoption
emerged Thursday in Chelyabinsk, in Russia’s Ural Mountains, when a news Web
site reported that a 14-year-old orphan, Maxim Kargapoltsev, had written
President Vladimir Putin asking to be allowed to join his new family, Mil and
Dianna Wallen, in Woodstock, Va.
The Web post brought stinging denunciations from supporters of the adoption
ban, who called it a provocation. Lawmaker Yekaterina Lakhova, one
of the sponsors of the legislation, called the report an “attack against
As it turns out, there probably was no letter. Maxim had told a Web site
reporter last month that he wished he could leave for his new home, and the site
apparently decided to crank the story up a bit. That’s according to the director
of the orphanage where Maxim lives and a local reporter, Inna Kumeiko, who met
with the boy on Thursday morning.
Maxim couldn’t be reached from Moscow, but he made his feelings clear in a
social media post Wednesday night.
“I am very sorry,” he wrote, “that the law will not let me have a very good
family in the future, the family that I have known and loved and whom I have
become attached to.
“I like my motherland, but I would like to have a family in the U.S.
“I really wish I could personally see VVP [Putin] and all those who adopted
Maxim didn’t see Putin on Thursday, but he did see the regional governor,
Mikhail Yurevich, who swept in after news of Maxim’s plight got out. He gave the
boy a new tablet computer and a laptop, dispensed phones to other orphans and
promised Maxim that he could travel — to Israel — to get some medical issues