Kerry, Lavrov to discuss death of Russian adopted child
Moscow, Feb 22 : The controversial death of a Russian adopted child in the US will also be discussed when US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov meet in Germany next week, a ministry official said.
The foreign ministry's commissioner for human rights, Konstantin Dolgov, said Lavrov would broach the wider issue of the safety of Russian adopted children in the US at their meeting in Berlin Feb 26.
Russia's children's rights ombudsman, Pavel Astakhov, earlier tweeted that three-year-old Maxim Kuzmin had been murdered by his adoptive US mother.
He said the child had been given powerful "psychotropic substances" and badly beaten before his death, which reportedly occurred Jan 21.
The US authorities have not yet completed the investigation into the child's death.
The accusation caused a storm of outrage in Russia, with nationalist politician Vladimir Zhirinovsky, leader of the LDPR party, alleging that Americans adopted Russian children to "torment" them, in comments aired on state-run TV.
"Unfortunately, the death of a Russian child was not a tragedy for US congressmen or senators," said Olga Batulina, deputy head of a parliamentary committee on family, women and child welfare.
"I doubt it was a tragedy for anyone in the United States," Batulina said.
Russian officials have criticised investigations into the deaths of Russian adopted children in the US and alleged that courts hand down softer punishments for crimes against children from Russia.
Another member of the parliamentary committee, Yelena Mizulina, said that 300 children adopted by Russian families died every year.
"The number of criminal investigations opened as a result of the deaths of children handed over to (Russian) families is minimal," she said, citing committee data.
Mizulina said just two criminal cases had been opened in 2009 to 2011, a period that saw some 900 adopted children die in Russian families.
"We tried to find out what the causes of their deaths were, but no one followed up," said Mizulina.
According to US State Department figures, more than 60,000 Russian children have been adopted by Americans over the past two decades.
Of those, Russian officials say 20 were killed as a result of their American parents' actions.