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Under Child Adoption Threat, Ireland Scraps Magnitsky List

Published: May 4, 2013 (Issue # 1757)


Ireland has dropped plans to impose U.S.-style Magnitsky sanctions on Russia after Moscow warned that it might respond by banning Irish parents from adopting Russian children.

The Russian opposition assailed Ireland for the reversal, saying it had not only bowed to Kremlin blackmail but had also shown a lack of leadership as the current president of the European Union.

Irish lawmakers had drafted legislation to blacklist Russian officials implicated of human rights violations in the Magnitsky case. But Russia's ambassador to Ireland, Maxim Peshkov, wrote to the Irish parliament's foreign affairs committee in March that any attempt to introduce a Magnitsky list might have a "negative influence" on an agreement on child adoptions between the two countries.

Several Irish parents subsequently contacted committee members after the letter was made public, expressing concern that pending adoptions for Russian children might be canceled.

Pat Breen, chairman of the foreign affairs committee, said Thursday that lawmakers had decided to scrap the Magnitsky list and instead pass a motion calling on the government to convey the committee's concern over the death.

"We have reached a motion that fulfils our obligations on human rights," he said, according to The Irish Times.

One senator, David Norris, told the committee that the Russian government should be "thoroughly ashamed" for "this use of children," while Jim Walsh, the senator who proposed the blacklist, expressed disappointment that no sanctions would be enacted, the newspaper said. "But," Walsh added, "politics is about achieving compromise."

In Moscow, Vladimir Kara-Murza, a senior opposition member, minced no words in his criticism of Ireland and the Russian government.

"The effect is unambiguous: Ireland, the current president of the European Union, succumbed to the Kremlin's blackmail and threats," Kara-Murza said in an interview with the French radio station RFI. "It is with deep regret that it must be said that the blackmail of Putin's regime has worked."

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Thursday, Aug. 28


Learn more about the citys upcoming municipal elections during the presentation of the project Road Map for the Municipal Elections being presented this evening in the conference hall on the third floor of Biblioteka at 21 Nevsky Prospekt. Steve Kaddins, a coordinator for Beautiful St. Petersburg, which gives residents an online forum to lodge complaints about infrastructure problems in the city, will be on hand to answer any questions. The meeting starts at 7 p.m. and is open to all.



Friday, Aug. 29


Park Pobedy will feature the sights and sounds of the world outside of Russia during the Open Art International Festival today. Taste foreign cuisine, learn how to make tea like the Chinese or relax in a hammock during the free event. Although entrance is free, you must register beforehand if you wish to attend.



Saturday, Aug. 30


Break out the tweed and channel your inner Englishman during the English Hunt Picnic this afternoon organized by the Bagmut stables from Krasny Bor in the Leningrad Oblast. Equestrian stunts, English archery and classic hunting fashion will all be available to visitors hoping to live like the characters in Downton Abbey if only for a day. Tickets for the event cost 7,900 rubles ($219.40).


Bookworms will have their chance to swap out well-read classics for something new for their bookshelves at Knigovorot, a free book exchange that will be held in the Yusupov Garden on Sadovaya Ulitsa today. Come for the chance to get a new book or take the opportunity to discuss the literary merits of your favorite authors with fellow fans.



Sunday, Aug. 31


The Neva Delta International Blues Festival wraps up this afternoon on Vasilevsky Island with a concert featuring not only some of Russias best blues bands but international stars as well. Admission is free for all three days of the festival, which begins on Aug. 29, and the shows starting at 5 p.m. each day.



Monday, Sept. 1


Today marks the beginning of Lermontov-Fest, a fall festival celebrating the life of one of Russias most remarkable poets who, in a fate eerily similar to Pushkins, was killed in a duel at the age of 26. Organized by the Lermontov Library System, the next several months will see art exhibitions, concerts and public lectures focusing on the Lermontovs short yet prolific career. Check the Lermontov Library Systems website for more details.



Tuesday, Sept. 2


Join expats and practice your Russian during the Russian Clubs weekly meetings every Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. The club is free to participate in although you need to be a registered member of Couchsurfing.



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