and the government and disputes between the government and the
Kremlin and also to disagreements within the cabinet itself. But on
this occasion the split has been exceptional: the Duma initiative
was opposed by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who has always been
extremely politically correct in regard to foreign-policy affairs.
Lavrov says that "this is wrong, and I am confident that the State
Duma will ultimately adopt a balanced decision." A Kommersant source
in the RF Foreign Ministry explained that the minister was speaking
not so much about the State Duma initiative as about the institution
of adoption as a whole: "This is an inalienable part of
international law and the humanitarian life of all countries. It
makes no sense to ban it (adoption--Kommersant), it needs to be
turned into a civilized channel. Specially since Russia is stepping
up efforts here with its partners, including the United States."
Kommersant's source pointed out that it was the Foreign Ministry
(and the minister personally) that participated actively in the
drafting of the agreement, signed in the United States, which "for
the first time enabled the Russian Federation to actually track the
fortunes of Russian children adopted by Americans" and required the
US authorities to make available at RF request all necessary
information and access to the children. A negative side-effect,
though, Kommersant's source says, could be a "surge of criminal
arrangements" in this sphere.
In addition, the bill was opposed by Education Minister Dmitriy Livanov (for which he was rebuked by Yekaterina Lakhova for sticking his oar in), Olga Golodets, deputy premier for social issues, Mikhail Abyzov, minister for Open Government, and Finance Minister Anton Siluanov. A contradictory position was adopted by Mikhail Fedotov, head of the Human Rights Council. He observed that "the United States took an unabashedly unfriendly step," but Russia could with such amendments (concerning a ban on adoption) lose the moral advantage. "Linking this with ailing Russian children--I consider this simply unethical. The Russian response should be symmetrical," Interfax quotes Fedotov. But then Fedotov changed his position, calling in question the institution of the international adoption of Russian orphaned children as a whole. He proposed the imposition of a total ban on the adoption of children by foreigners. Such maneuvers of Fedotov could have to do with the split of the council in two--40 of its members signed a statement of the Human Rights Council condemning the ban on adoption, 20 members, an alternative text strongly criticizing the situation involving little Russians adopted by Americans (one member of the Human Rights Council, Vladimir Ryakhovskiy, attorney and Protestant figure, signed both documents here). In this situation Fedotov maneuvered between the Kremlin and the council majority critical of the position of the authorities--but none too successfully.
Finally, the position of Prime Minister Dmitriy Medvedev was extremely weak politically. He ignored the bill itself, but charged United Russia with drawing up a party draft on a resolution of the problems of orphans and deemed international adoption Russia's "shame". Putin subsequently fully agreed with Medvedev.
Third, the authorities' public stance on this issue would appear extremely vulnerable, for several reasons, what is more. Putin's
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