Russia’s Image Smeared By Law Punishing Orphans (Kommersant, Russia)
From the look of it, things are not going as planned in the Kremlin. Russia’s parliament, the Duma, with the instigation of Russia President Vladimir Putin, has passed a bill in retaliation for an American law that targets Russian officials involved with human rights abuse. The trouble is, according to Kommersant columnist Konstantin Eggert, the Duma bill, by prohibiting the adoption of Russians by Americans, clearly hurts Russian orphans more than the Americans who wish to adopt them – and ruins Russia’s global image.
For usually Kremlin-friendly Kommersant, Konstantin Eggert starts off this way:
In America and Europe, people simply cannot fathom that the nation’s parliament – a parliament belonging to a “Big Eight” country (which, I remind you, is a club of democracies) – could invent and adopt anything like the so-called Dima Yakovlev Bill. Imagine our government’s ministers and deputy prime ministers traveling the world, telling people that Russia is not the Soviet Union, that our country has buried the legacy of the Cold War, and that one can and should invest in the new Russia.
And then someone like Deputy Vyacheslav Nikonov, or, God forgive me, [Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman] Alexey Pushkov, stands at the Duma lectern and explains on camera for all the world to see how right it is to lock Russian orphans and disabled children up in orphanages in retaliation against Uncle Sam.
After that, foreign lawmakers, diplomats, non-governmental organization, and even many businessmen, slid from their chairs in profound shock. And as a result, many have concluded that comments by our ministers and deputy prime ministers should be taken with skepticism, and that the real Russia is an ‘other,’ something morally inferior, and even worse, completely incomprehensible.
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