Today marks the beginning of a sad era for Russian orphans. Earlier in the day, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a bill outlawing American adoptions of Russian orphans. As a result, there are forty six children currently hanging in limbo, as their adoption processes were initiated before the legislation went into effect. It remains to be seen whether these adoptions will be denied with the new legislation in place.
Over the past twenty years, 60,000 Russian orphans have been taken out of orphanages and welcomed into American families. The vast majority of these adoptions was successful and resulted in happy, loving families. Thereby, this new piece of legislation is cruel and unjust for the thousands more orphans that would have been given brighter futures through adoptions by American families.
This piece of legislation is primarily a political move – one in a series of heated exchanges between the United States and Russia. President Putin encouraged anti-American feeling when he accused Hillary Clinton of being responsible for anti-Putin protests that took place in Moscow a year ago. Several months later, Putin demanded that the U.S. Agency for International Development cease its operations in Russia. Then President Obama signed legislation in honor of Sergei Magnitsky, which targeted Russia’s corrupt tax and police officials. In retaliation, Putin banned American adoptions of Russian orphans.
As far as Russia’s human rights record is concerned, it has hit an all-time new low with this new piece of legislation. Children are being left to grow up in the deplorable conditions of Russian orphanages, with very little hope for a bright future. All this is because politicians will stop at nothing to drive their point across.
It has yet to be seen how much further tensions will escalate in the coming year. The events to keep an eye on are the continuous transport of goods in and out of Afghanistan and Russian cooperation on Iran. As these events play out, one cannot help but wonder whether the United States and Russia will find themselves locked in another cold war. Although it may now seem unlikely, nothing is certain when dealing with leaders who unconscionably snatch away the possibility of bright futures from thousands of suffering orphans.