U.S. has been the main destination for Russian adoptees

Thousands demonstrated in Moscow in freezing temperatures on Sunday against the law banning Americans from adopting Russian orphans.

The ban, which President Putin signed on New Year’s Eve, was rushed through the Kremlin-controlled Parliament in retaliation for the so-called Magnitsky Act, a U.S. law that blacklists Russian officials accused of human rights violations.

Up to 30,000 protesters marched through Moscow chanting “shame on the scum” and carrying the posters with the word ‘shame’ splashed across the portraits of Mr. Putin and legislators who voted for the adoptions ban.

At the end of the march the participants dumped the portraits in a huge garbage bin set up for the purpose.

“Those who backed the adoptions ban are crooks and villains, because they voted for denying to thousands of Russian orphans a chance for decent life,” said Alexander K., professor at the Moscow State University, who took part in the ‘March against the Scum’. Russia has more than 600,000 orphans and abandoned kids, more than any other country in the world per 10,000 children. Over 500,000 are in foster care and more than 100,000 in orphanages. According to government statistics, one in 10 children raised in an orphanage eventually commits suicide and one in four ends up in prison. Disabled orphans rarely live beyond the age of 20 and are condemned to spending their lives in a closed institution in pitiful conditions. America has been the main destination for Russian adoptees.

Over the past two decades, more than 60,000 orphans have found new families in the U.S. Many of them are children with disabilities, because they rarely get adopted into Russian families.

The adoptions ban helped breathe new life into the anti-Putin protest movement that sprang into life a year ago but began to lose steam towards the end of last year.

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