When Russian President Vladimir Putin banned the U.S. adoption of Russian children in late December, he appeared to have dashed the hopes of 52 families who had already been assigned children in court but had not yet completed the adoption. But Russia's children rights ombudsman Pavel Astakhov is now saying those adoptions will go through., although he declined to provide a time frame or specifics for worried families, according to the Associated Press.
Families in both Russia and the U.S. have been outraged by the ban, believing that children are being used as pawns in Putin’s political game, widely viewed as retaliation for U.S. legislation relating to the case of Russian corruption lawyer Sergei Magnitsky. Magnitsky died in a Russian prison in 2009 after being arrested by the officers he was investigating over fraud. This led to a ban on all officials implicated in the case from travelling to, or holding bank accounts in, the US.
But banning adoptions in retaliation seemed a particularly cruel bit of political brinksmanship to the families so close to the end of the adoption process. Although this latest development provides a glimmer of hope, families tell the AP they remain in limbo. Two families, who have remained in Moscow to finalize their adoption of two children with Down Syndrome, have been stymied by local authorities. Other families have yet to receive any further information from Russian authorities, despite Astakhov’s pledge.