Celebs ask Putin to let US families complete adoptions
Moscow, Feb 7 : A group of prominent Russian artists Thursday appealed to President Vladimir Putin to allow many US families to complete previously started adoptions of Russian children, despite introduction of a law banning Americans from doing so.
The Kremlin introduced the Dima Yakovlev bill Jan 1 in response to Washington's Magnitsky Act, which introduced sanctions against Russian officials suspected of human rights abuses.
As a result, hundreds of adoptions in various stages of the bureaucratic adoption process were suspended.
Many of those US families had already met their would-be children before the ban was introduced.
"We all understand that the law came into effect. Now we can only ask to make an exception for those children who have already met their future moms and for those moms who have already seen their children," said Chulpan Khamatova, a popular Russian actress and charity campaigner.
Khamatova, 37, co-founder of the Gift of Life NGO which helps Russian children, said the children concerned who have got stuck in Russia's outdated orphange system will grow up "and hate their own country", which prevented them having a family.
It is not clear how many US families who have met Russian children have been affected by the ban.
The US State Department has said that between 500 and 1,000 American families had been in the process of trying to adopt Russian children when it took effect.
At least 81 American families who have had meetings with their future Russian children signed a letter to Putin begging him to allow them to complete their adoptions, according to Khamatova.
Putin has not reacted to the appeal.
The appeal was backed by Russian rock musician Andrei Makarevich and Yevgeny Mironov, a prominent actor and art director of the Moscow-based Theater of Nations.
Mironov and Khamatova, a theatre and movie star internationally known for her role in the film "Goodbye Lenin", both backed Putin's candidacy during his re-election campaign through video ads.
Russian officials justified the adoption ban by blaming US parents for the deaths of at least 19 adopted Russian children.
More than 60,000 Russian children have been adopted by American families in the last 20 years, including 962 last year, according to US State Department figures.