Russian Adoption Ban Proposal Draws Criticism

MOSCOW - Russian lawmakers still appear prepared to introduce a measure that would cut off adoptions of children from Russia to the United States, even as criticism of the move mounts from unexpected corners.

Russia's human rights community cried foul, accusing the ban's authors of playing politics with the lives of orphans. The issue also appeared to drive a rare wedge between top Russian officials and members of the ruling United Russia party, which proposed the ban.

The measure in question is a proposed amendment to a bill that retaliates for the Magnitsky Act in the U.S., which imposes sanctions on Russian human rights offenders. President Obama signed into law on Friday. The Russian bill is expected to be introduced on Wednesday and the entire package could be approved by the end of the month.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov slammed the proposed amendment, calling it "wrong" and adding that international adoption was a legal right. He called on lawmakers to come to a "reasonable decision."

The Foreign Ministry piled on from its Twitter account, saying, "A law banning adoption is akin to examples in Russian history when it was easier to ban everything rather than tackle unlawful actions."

Russia's children's rights ombudsman Pavel Astakhav, however, spoke in favor of an adoption ban, saying it should have happened years ago.

Astakhav has led the Russian government's effort to demand access to Russian children it believes are mistreated in the United States. Last summer he showed up unannounced at a Montana ranch for troubled adopted children with a Russian camera crew, demanding access to what he called discarded children.

Russia's human rights ombudsman Vladimir Lukin disagreed, calling the proposal "shameless."