Russia questions Washington’s intent to adhere to latest adoption pact

RIA Novosti/Vladimir Pesnya
US officials have managed to violate the recently-adopted mutual agreement on child adoption, as they failed to provide information and consular access to a Russian child abused in America, a top Russian diplomat has told parliament.

The case calls into question Washington’s intent to comply with the bilateral agreement on adoptions, said the Foreign Ministry’s plenipotentiary in charge of Human Rights and democracy issues, Konstantin Dolgov.

Nevertheless, Russia intends to press for the fulfillment of the agreement both in letter and spirit, he added.

Speaking at the Monday roundtable in the State Duma, Dolgov reiterated the position voiced previously by other Russian officials in connection with the case of Maksim Babayev – a six-year-old Russian Boy who suffered psychological and physical abuse from his adoptive parents in the US. Eventually the parents, Laverne and Christie Taylor, were put on trial and received suspended sentences of one and five years.

Russian officials blasted the sentences as too soft.

“The double standards policy and the baselessly soft sentences to US adoptive parents are not commensurate with the bilateral dialogue that we are having with the US side,” said the Russian president’s representative for children’s rights, Pavel Astakhov.

Besides, the official said that Russia was “dismayed” by the fact that consular officials had not been allowed to visit the boy, without any clear reasons.

Astakhov voiced hope that the latest Russian-US agreement on child adoption, ratified by both states in July this year, would change the approach of the US side, but Dolgov’s later statement shows that Russia’s hopes on the subject are waning.

The new agreement was a result of a string of scandals with Russian adopted children in the United States in which the children were abused, pressured and sometimes even killed by the adoptive parents.

At one point Russia had to introduce a moratorium on foreign adoptions, which was lifted as the new bilateral agreement was prepared.