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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

Saturday, Oct. 25


AVA Expo, the eighth edition of the event revolving around all things pop, returns to Lenexpo this weekend. Geeks, nerds, dweebs and dorks will have their chance to talk science fiction and explore a variety of international pop culture. Tickets for the event can be purchased on their website at avaexpo.ru.



Sunday, Oct. 26


Zenit St. Petersburg returns home for the first time in nearly a month as they host Mordovia Saransk in a Russian Premier League game. Currently at the top of the league thanks to their undefeated start to the season, the northern club hopes to extend the gap between them and second-place CSKA Moscow and win the title for the first time in three years. Tickets are available at the stadium box office or on the club’s website.



Monday, Oct. 27


Today marks the end of the art exhibit “Neophobia” at the Erarta Museum. Artists Alexey Semichov and Andrei Kuzmin took a neo-modernist approach to represent the array of fears that are ever-present throughout our lives. Tickets are 200 rubles ($4.90).



Tuesday, Oct. 28


The Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel plays host to SPIBA’s Marketing and Communications Committee’s round table discussion on “Government Relations Practices in Russia” this morning. The discussion starts at 9:30 a.m. and participation must be confirmed by Oct. 24.



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