Putin appears now to be backpedalling on adoption law

11.01.2013 - 11:11

On 10 January, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitri Peskov said a new Russian law banning adoptions by Americans will not go into effect “until the first day of January 2014”.

On 1 January, Russian Foreign Ministry officially notified the US State Department that Russia was stopping its participation in the adoption agreement as the Dima Yakovlev Law came into force in the country.

However, RIA Novosti quoted Peskov as saying on 10 January that under the bilateral adoption agreement with the United States concluded in 2012, either side must give 12 months’ notice before withdrawing. “Right now that agreement is still in force,” he said.

Jeffrey Mankoff, Fellow and Deputy Director of the Russia & Eurasia Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington DC, told New Europe on 10 January that he thinks Putin is backpedalling mostly because the law is unpopular in Russia and isn't having the galvanizing effect he expected on public opinion. “The delay allows him to quietly shelve the whole thing if the climate in relations changes for the better over the next year,” he said.

The Russian law has been widely criticised in the West. Meanwhile, Russian society was split over the bill. Many Russians feel the amendment would deprive many orphans of a chance of a better life with an American family and sometimes necessary medical treatment they cannot afford at home.

A protest march against the law is planned for 13 January in Moscow.

Some observers say the Russian law is in retaliation to US President Barack Obama signing the Sergei Magnitsky Accountability Act, which places financial and visa sanctions on corrupt Russian officials.