Russian President Vladimir Putin is defending a proposed law that would ban Americans from adopting Russian children.
During a news conference Thursday in Moscow, Mr. Putin acknowledged the bill recently passed by the State Duma, or lower house of parliament, was an “emotional” response to a new U.S. law that imposes sanctions on Russian officials suspected of human-rights violations.
But he said the State Duma's action was “appropriate” and says he will consider signing the bill only after seeing the final text.
“It (the Magnitsky Act) is not about officials. The thing is that they replaced one anti-Soviet, anti-Russian law with another one. You can't get around that. They are nonetheless trying to stay in the past, which is very bad. And that by itself poisons our relationship. (Our response) isn't about the people who are adopting our children. There are tragedies (deaths of adopted children), and we know about these. But the overwhelming majority who adopt our children behave themselves. These are kind and honorable people. The State Duma deputies are reacting not to this but to the position of the American state. What is that position? That when a crime against one of our adopted children is committed, most often the American judiciary doesn't react to that, and they free those people who have clearly committed a crime against a child.”
Several senior Russian officials oppose the proposal, and some analysts expect Mr. Putin to make changes to the bill before signing it into law.
The bill is named after Dima Yakovlev, a Russian boy who died in 2008 after his adoptive family left him locked in a car for several hours during a hot day.
Mr. Putin complained many U.S. courts failed to convict parents whose Russian-born children died while under their care.
The new U.S. law is named after Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian anti-corruption lawyer who died in prison in 2009 after exposing an official corruption ring involved in the embezzlement of $250 million in tax money. The law was approved as part of legislation that lifted trade restrictions on Russia dating back to the Cold War era