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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, Oct. 30


Dental-Expo St. Petersburg 2014 concludes today at Lenexpo. Welcoming specialists from throughout the federation, the forum is an opportunity for dentists to share tricks of the trade and peruse the most recent innovations in technology and equipment, with over 100 companies hocking their wares at the event.



Friday, Oct. 31


Put your grammar and logical thinking to the test in a fun and friendly environment during the British Book Center’s Board Game Evening starting at 5 p.m. today. The event is free and all are welcome to attend.



Saturday, Nov. 1


The men and women who dedicate their lives to fitness get their chance to compete for the title of best body in Russia at today’s Grand Prix Fitness House PRO, the nation’s premier bodybuilding competition. Not only will men and women be competing for thousands of dollars in prizes and a trip to represent their nation at Mr. Olympia but sporting goods and nutritional supplements will also be available for sale. Learn more about the culture of the Indian subcontinent during Diwali, the annual festival of lights that will be celebrated in St. Petersburg this weekend at the Culture Palace on Tambovskaya Ul. For 100 rubles ($2.40), festival-goers listen to Indian music, try on traditional Indian outfits and sample dishes highlighting the culinary diversity of the billion-plus people in the South Asian superpower.



Sunday, Nov. 2


Check out the latest video and interactive games at the Gaming Festival at the Mayakovsky Library ending today. Meet with the developers of the popular and learn more about their work, or learn how to play one of their creations with the opportunity to ask the creators themselves about the exact rules.



Monday, Nov. 3


Non-athletes can get feed their need for competition without breaking a sweat at the Rock-Paper-Scissors tournament this evening at the Cube Bar at Lomonosova 1. Referees will judge the validity of each matchup award points to winners while the city’s elite fight for the chance to be called the best of the best. Those hoping to play must arrange a team beforehand and pay 200 rubles ($4.80) to enter.



Tuesday, Nov. 4


Attend the premiere of Canadian director Xavier Dolan’s latest film “Mommy” at the Avrora theater this evening. The fifth picture from the 25-year-old, it is the story of an unruly teenager but the most alluring (or unappealing) aspect is the way the film was shot: in a 1:1 format that is more reminiscent of Instagram videos than cinematic art. Tickets cost 400 rubles ($9.60) and snacks and drinks will be available.



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