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U.S. Paralympics Champion Must Become Russian Citizen to Adopt Orphan

Published: December 14, 2013 (Issue # 1790)



  • Children playing at an orphanage in Moscow.
    Photo: Vladimir Filonov / SPT

Paralympics champion Jessica Long – who was abandoned by her Russian mother at birth and grew up in the U.S. – may be allowed to adopt a Russian orphan if she first obtains Russian citizenship, children's rights ombudsman Pavel Astakhov said Friday.

During a recent visit to the Siberian city of Irkutsk, where she was born, Long said she would like to adopt a child from a local orphanage. But Russia's recent law prohibits her from doing that unless she obtains Russian citizenship first, Astakhov said, Itar-Tass reported.

"American citizens are not allowed to adopt Russian children nowadays," Astakhov told reporters. "If she obtains Russian citizenship, then she's welcome to do so."

Long's Russian mother abandoned her at birth because of a disability that required her lower legs to be amputated. She was adopted by a U.S. family from Maryland, went on to excel in a number of sports and became the world record holder in 13 Paralympic events.

Astakhov said there were other ways for foreigners to help Russian orphans without adopting them.

"There are countries that do that without stripping children of their motherland," he said.

Long, 21, maintained her Russian citizenship until coming of age, Astakhov added.

Astakhov also said that Russia aimed to halve the number of its orphanages by 2018, "by placing children with families," RIA Novosti reported.

Astakhov did not elaborate on the details of how that goal would be achieved.

Adoption and foster care rates in Russia have declined over the past few years, the report said.

Russian families adopted 58,000 children in 2012, down from almost 110,000 in 2009, according to Education and Science Ministry statistics released earlier this year. Another 109,000 Russian children are still waiting to be adopted, according to an official list on the ministry's website.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Thursday, July 24


Liliana Modiliani, a well-known Russian stylist, will talk about choosing clothes that fit during her lecture at 7 p.m. at the Pryamoy Efir art club, 13 Viborgskoe Shosse.



Friday, July 25


Discuss Russia’s economic and political prospects for 2014 during a Business Breakfast organized by SPIBA at 9.30 a.m. in the Bank Saint-Petersburg office at 64


Malookhtinsky Prospekt.


Start your weekend with adorable miniature pigs at the Squealing Pig festival at 7 p.m. this evening in the Karl & Friedrich restaurant, 15 Iozhnaya doroga, on Krestovsky Island.



Saturday, July 26


Hundreds of brand-new and retro cars, drag and drift shows, test drives and karting are planned for the Avtobum-2014 festival, which will take place in front of the RIO shopping center at 2 Fuchika Ulitsa.


Participants in today’s SaniDay Summer competition will impress visitors with their hand-made, unusual and hilarious boats, which will race at the Igora Resort near the 54th kilometer on Priozerskoe Shosse.


Metro Family Day will include both serious lectures for adults and master-classes for children, making the event interesting for the whole family. To participate, come to Kirov Park on Yelagin Island.


Photography will be the focus of today’s Photosubbota, which features lectures by famous photographers, meetings with photo schools and studio representatives, and participation in a photography competition. The event starts at noon at Petrokongress, 5 Lodeynopolskaya Ulitsa.


If you like cycling, make sure to visit the Za Velogorod Festival with its retro bike exhibition, market and live music. The second round of the Leningrad Criterium race will also take place during the event at Petrovsky Arsenal in Sestroretsk.



Sunday, July 27


Navy Day will be celebrated with a weapon and military transportation exhibition, self-defense master classes and concerts. The event starts at 1 p.m. in the 300th Anniversary Park of St. Petersburg.



Monday, July 28


Don’t miss a chance to see the latest achievements in robotics during the RoboDom interactive show, exhibiting more than 150 robots. The show will be at BUM center, 22/2 Gzhatskaya Ulitsa, until Aug. 3. The entrance ticket costs 350 rubles ($10).



Tuesday, July 29


A video of a Queen concert from 1986 will be shown today at 8 p.m. in Yaschik, 50/13 Ligovsky Prospekt.



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