Last month Russian lawmakers voted in a new law that bans the adoption of Russian children by American parents.
Many Russian have legitimate concerns about the safety of their children — for one thing, 19 Russian children adopted to the US have died in the last few decades. A particularly notorious recent case saw 7-year-old orphan Artyem Saveliev sent back to the Russia by his American adoptive parents, a "to-whom-it-may-concern" note attached to him.
However the timing of the ban seems pretty suspicious. It all took place just after Congress passed "The Magnitsky Act", legislation that sought to impose sanctions on a number of Russian officials linked to a tax fraud that cost a Moscow lawyer his life. It appears to be a petty bit of tit-for-tat in a worrying return to Cold War tactics.
In Russia, not everyone is happy with the plan. This weekend saw tens of thousands of people take to the streets of Moscow to protest.
Now a January 6 blog post by a blind Russian high schooler has become the focus of online protests. You can read a (pretty understandable) Google-translated version of the post, which is addressed directly to Russian President Vladimir Putin by Natasha Pisarenko, here.
Pisarenko, who has been blind since birth, sarcastically congratulates Putin for saving the orphans from the "evil Americans". She then goes on to discuss Russia's lack of modern medicine, and its attitudes to children with disabilities.
"For Russian doctors, I am a child with an illness of unknown etiology ... but in Germany and America I am a patient whose sight the doctors are trying to restore," she writes. She also asked Putin to adopt 5-10 disabled children personally.
Pisarenko appears to have been taken by surprise by the post's viral appeal. "Thank you all!" she wrote in her most recent post. However, the attention may not all be positive. The Associated Press reports that attempts to interview Pisarenko have been rebuffed by her father — he had been ordered not to talk to press, though he would not reveal who was behind the order.
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