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Russians Adopt More Kids

Published: January 22, 2014 (Issue # 1794)



  • Astakhov attributes the growth in adoptions to the improved selection, training, education and support of adoptive parents.
    Photo: Mikhail Netzel / AP

The number of Russian orphans and abandoned children has dropped from 140,000 to a little under 107,000 in the past five years due to state policies encouraging domestic adoptions, children’s ombudsman Pavel Astakhov said Monday.

Following the controversial ban on U.S. adoptions that took effect in January 2013, the majority of children taken from Russian orphanages last year were adopted inside the country, Astakhov said while reporting the results of his yearly work to President Vladimir Putin, Astakhov’s website reported.

In the wake of the U.S. adoption ban, passed by parliament in retaliation for a U.S. law that punishes suspected Russian human rights violators, Moscow has been under pressure to increase domestic adoption rates, which have been stubbornly low in recent years compared to the number of orphans in need of homes.

American Parents Pen Adoption Plea

Still, less than 20 percent of Russians say they would ever consider adopting a child, due to insufficient income, a lack of government support and poor housing conditions, according to a national poll released in mid-November by the Foundation for Supporting Children in Difficult Situations.

Astakhov painted a rosier picture of the situation in his meeting with Putin, however, saying that the majority of adoptions were now by Russians, arguing that the change was due to the fact that “there were no more American adoptions in 2013.”

“And this exactly indicates that not only efforts of the state in this case have led to such results, but first and foremost a very active stance of society, because we know how the public at the start of [last] year was agitated by our certain decisions [and] laws that were enforced,” Astakhov said in reference to the public discontent over the ban on U.S. adoptions.

But one positive consequence of the ban, Astakhov said, was that now “no one in Russia remains indifferent to the problems of orphaned children.”

Astakhov attributed the growth in adoptions in part to the improved selection, training, education and support of adoptive parents.

Thousands March to Protest U.S. Adoption Ban

Last week, Astakhov also said that the overall number of adoptions had grown by 6.7 percent compared to the previous year, to more than 65,000. He said that figure compared to an average yearly increase of 1 to 1.5 percent between 2009 and 2013.

Astakhov’s press office referred an inquiry for more statistics to the Education and Science Ministry. A ministry spokesman said that Astakhov had announced “forecasted” statistics and that no other figures were yet available. The spokesman said final numbers would be released in April.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Saturday, Nov. 29


Cats, dogs, birds, rodents and reptiles are just some of the things that will walk and crawl at Lenexpo convention center this weekend as part of Zooshow, a two-day exhibition featuring not only man’s best friends but a four-legged fashion show, as well as a food fair that will help pet owners find out more about which kibbles are best for their hungry pets.



Sunday, Nov. 30


Remember the 75th anniversary of the beginning of the Russo-Finnish war in 1939 during today’s reenactment titled “Winter War: How it Was.” More than 200 people will take part in recreating the opening salvoes of the battle for the north in Kamenka, a small village situated between Vyborg and St. Petersburg, using authentic equipment and vintage vehicles from the era. The faux battle begins at 2 p.m.



Monday, Dec. 1


Serbia filmmaker Emir Kusturica is the featured guest this evening at the Lensovet Palace of Culture the Petrograd Side. Fans of the director will get the chance to watch his movie “Black Cat, White Cat,” as well as ask questions about his award-winning filmography. Tickets for the event, which starts at 7 p.m., start at 2,000 rubles ($42.50).



Tuesday, Dec. 2


Today is the final day of “Takoy Festival,” a three-week program of plays based on the works of Dostoevsky, Remarque and other famed European writers, whose work is transcribed for theatrical performances. Tonight’s festival finale is “Fathers and Sons,” a two-act drama staged by the Novosibirsk Academic Drama Theater based on Turgenev’s classic about familial relations.



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