Thousands in Moscow protest ban on adoptions by U.S. families

MOSCOW — In the largest show of public discontent since President Vladimir Putin’s inauguration last May, thousands of demonstrators marched through downtown Moscow to protest a new law banning the adoption of Russian orphans by U.S. families.

The crowd, holding portraits of Putin and about 600 lawmakers who voted for the law, filled Moscow’s Boulevard Ring, a procession that resembled old-time Communist May Day celebrations. At the end of the march, the portraits were dumped into a huge garbage bin.

Moscow police did not interfere with the peaceful march. Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said Sunday night that “every point of view had a right to exist” but reminded that “the law that came into effect should be regarded as law.”

The adoption law signed by Putin last month has split Russian society and re-galvanized the Russian protest movement, which fell dormant after Putin won election.

The law, rushed through the parliament, is seen as retribution for the Sergei Magnitsky Act passed by the U.S. Congress and signed by President Barack Obama in December, which imposed visa restrictions and financial sanctions on Russian officials believed involved in the death of an imprisoned lawyer who blew the whistle on Russian officials allegedly involved in a multimillion-dollar tax refund scam.

The Kremlin, which called the U.S. measure “an unfriendly act,” moved to annul as of Jan. 1 an adoption agreement signed with the U.S. in June.

In the past two decades, Americans have adopted more than 60,000 orphans from Russia, a significant number of them with mental and physical disabilities. Despite more than 600,000 orphans in Russia, the adoption rate within Russia has not exceeded more than 7,000 in recent years.

In speedily passing the law, Russian lawmakers cited the death of several adopted children while under the care of American families.

The Russian bill raised protest inside Russia and in the West. On Thursday, Putin’s spokesman Peskov said the law allowing Americans to adopt Russian children would remain valid for another year. But a day later, he pulled back, saying that only children whose cases have already been ruled on by Russian courts “will go to their new parents.”

More in Local News

Food stuffs for a local chapter of A Simple Gesture at Fitness Evolution, the communal pick-up point, in Arlington on Jan. 12. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
There’s an easier way to donate to food banks

Grab a green bag, fill it gradually with grocery items — and someone will pick it up from your home.

Lake Stevens man shot by deputies reportedly was suicidal

The fatal shooting is the latest incident where someone apparently wanted police to fire.

Man suspected of robbing Rite Aids

Mill Creek police released a sketch Monday evening of the suspect.

Suspect: Marysville church fire ignited by burning shoelaces

The 21-year-old told police it was an accident, but he’s under investigation for second-degree arson.

Police seek witnesses to Marysville hit-and-run

A Seattle man suffered broken bones in the accident.

Tracking device leads police to bank robbery suspect

The man walked into a Wells Fargo around 3:15 Tuesday and told the teller he had a bomb.

Mayor, others break ground on low-barrier housing in Everett

Somers: The complex is expected to save lives and “really shows the heart of this community.”

Volunteers conduct annual count of homeless population

They worked througha standard set of questions to learn why people have ended up where they are.

Most Read