Duma Reaction to Magnitsky Bill Deals Blow to Russian Orphans – and Duma (Izvestia, Russia)
Merry Christmas to one and all.
The Kremlin is angry at Washington over a piece of legislation called the Magnitsky Bill, which punishes Russian officials thought to be involved in a murder cover-up. So Russia’s parliament, the Duma, has passed a bill in retaliation. Unfortunately, according to Russian poet Igor Karaulov, the Russian law, which he calls ‘not very Chritsmassy,’ harms Russia’s most vulnerable children, who now will never see America; and the Duma itself, whose members will now have to answer a myriad of questions about the abysmal state of Russia’s orphanages, foster care programs, and orphan medical care.
For Izvestia, poet Igor Karaulov writes in small part:
It’s worth remembering that exporting children to the U.S. is not an obligation of Russia. It is to Russia’s benefit and is an act of good will – like issuing visas. To show or not show good will is a sovereign matter for each state, and in this respect there are differing positions. For instance, the European Union doesn’t recommend that its members allow adoption of their children by foreigners – precisely because civilized countries find this distasteful. Poor African nations, by contrast, readily pass their children on. Unfortunately, in this case, we are the third world country. We, too, trade our orphans: out of sight, out of mind. And this fits seamlessly with our economic model: if we sell our crude oil and timber abroad, why not our unwanted children? And if we’ve been officially dreaming of kicking our addiction to the “raw material needle” for over 20 years, then ceasing to export our children is obviously also a worthy goal.
But what if, as we try and reach the goal in a single leap, we’re throwing the baby out with the bathwater?: That parentless and often disabled baby, living in an orphanage. Because Americans are strange people. An American family may travel halfway around the world and pay a not insignificant sum of money to choose a child with cerebral palsy or Down Syndrome. From our perspective, it’s an awkward business. It can’t even be seen as the export of children as much as the export of human suffering in its purest form. The ingenious West has learned to recycle such suffering into a semblance of happiness, similar to extracting has from shale. Until we ourselves capture these social technologies, we will be forced to rely on foreign benefactors, mainly U.S. citizens.
Therefore Duma members, perverting the right notion for the sake of momentary and dubious political profiteering, have put the cart before the horse. How can Duma Member Ekaterina Lakova, who has dealt with so many issues involving children, not have seen this? Perhaps she deliberately played the role of Belorussian partisan, dynamiting the rails of the legislative process to dramatically alter the national agenda. Having shouted out their complaints toward American adoptive parents, Duma members have now brought down an avalanche of bitter and angry questions on their heads – about the nightmare of our orphanages, murders and rapes in our foster care system, and nonexistent child patient survival – and socialization. Now, they and their colleagues in the Executive Branch will have to answer long and hard for these – and not to the authors of the Magnitsky Bill, but to their own constituents.
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