Russian Parliament’s Lower House approved a new law banning people from the United States from adopting children from Russia. The vote took place on Friday and was in retaliation for a law that the U.S. approved to punish officials from Russia linked to an anti-corruption lawyer’s death.
The bill that the State Duma approved will also make it illegal for campaign and lobby groups funded by the U.S. to be involved in political activity, which increases the pressure on those groups that have been critical of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The new law mirrors that of legislation in the U.S. titled the Magnitsky Act, which was named after Sergei Magnitsky a lawyer who died in 2009 while in jail in Russia. It imposes a ban on a visa and an asset freeze on any citizens in the U.S. accused of violating rights of any Russians abroad.
On Thursday, Putin hinted that he would sign the legislation into law once it is voted on next week by the Senate. The current spat between the governments has overshadowed the efforts to improve diplomatic relations with the current White House Administration.
Sergei Lavrov, the Foreign Minister in Russia, said the ban on adoptions would damage diplomatic ties and trade with the U.S. He spoke out against the legislation banning U.S. adoptions, which is a rare break from the official line at the Kremlin.
The move outraged liberals in Russia who said orphans are the innocent victims of world politics. Some of Putin’s officials in the United Russia Party have expressed their concern over the legislation, including the education minister.
The provision in the law that targets NGOs or non-government agencies has upset many international groups dealing with human rights, who have accused the Russian president of clamping down on dissent and civil society during his new term as Russian president that started in May and is for six years.