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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, childrens 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, Astakhovs 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.

Astakhovs 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

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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