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Russia to Sacrifice Orphans to Preserve National Pride?

Russians are known for their national pride, but this seems excessive: In a fit of pique, the Russian parliament responded to the U.S. Magnitsky Act by proposing a ban on American adoptions of Russian orphans. The NYT reports:

The Russian Parliament on Wednesday overwhelmingly voted in support of a bill that would prohibit the adoption of Russian children by American citizens, though it was unclear if President Vladimir V. Putin would allow the ban to go forward. . . .

The vote in the Duma was 400 to 4, with 2 abstentions, and the enthusiasm among lawmakers showed a rare split at the highest levels of the Russian government. Several senior officials had spoken out against the ban, including some, like the foreign minister, Sergey V. Lavrov, who are known for relatively hawkish views in dealing with the United States.

Now the ball is in Putin’s court. At a press conference today, Putin acknowledged that allowing this bill to pass, not even a year after signing a bilateral agreement on international adoptions, would send some mixed messages: “We have an agreement with the State Department,” he said. “I need to look at it. This is not an idle inquiry.” Without Putin’s full support, this bill may not pass, but Putin has already proven adept at saying what the West wants to hear while doing precisely the opposite.

Whatever the motives behind this bill, we don’t think that opening Russian orphanages to foreigners is necessarily the right answer. There are plenty of people in Russia who could provide good homes for these desperate children. Via Meadia hopes that the church and state might forget about persecuting rude rock groups for a while and look at ways to create a social climate that encourages Russian families to bring up these kids.

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