position seems indistinct and poorly worded. Just two clear signals
may ultimately be distinguished: Putin supports the initiative in
spirit, but does not as yet know whether he supports it "in the
letter" since he has allegedly not yet seen the text of the law. The
head of state says that the operation of the Russo-American adoption
agreement has to be analyzed and the wording of the deputies'
initiative to be closely scrutinized before a decision on the
signing of the document or otherwise is made.
But not everything is certain even with the support for the bill "in spirit". In his responses (and the subject of the "children's law" was raised eight times) Putin furnished two mutually contradictory systems of arguments for the adoption of the law, from which it is unclear whether this is a response to the Magnitsky Act or to the non-functioning agreement on the adoption of Russian children. Putin said that the "children's law" is "the response of members of the State Duma to the position of the American authorities," which, the president says, amounts to the fact that "American justice is not responding and is absolving of criminal liability people who have patently committed a crime against a child." Putin reiterated several times in the course of the news conference that Russian observers are being barred from the courts, the agreement is not working since Russians' access is ultimately regulated by legislation of the states, and the position of the State Department is becoming irrelevant. "They acted dumb," the president summed up, believing that the United States is deliberately "taking Russia for a ride." But at the same news conference he spoke also about the Magnitsky Act as an anti-Russian law. Recalling the secret CIA prisons and torture, Putin angrily said: "And they are still pointing out to us that we have some problems (with the death of Magnitskiy). Well, thank you, we know. But adopting on this basis some anti-Russian acts--this is an outrage that our side has done nothing to provoke," he said, adding here, not changing the subject, "this is an emotional response of the State Duma, but appropriate, I believe." So this is, after all, a response to the Magnitsky Act. Putin effectually supported the amendment on the ban on adoption, which drastically reduces (evidently does away with) the possibilities for maneuver in the signing of the law.
In this case this is not of fundamental importance. The main thing in the adoption of the "children's law" is the attempt to make a retaliatory anti-American gesture, showing his disagreement with the "anti-Russian" vector of the White House. And it is not a matter here only of the Magnitsky List but of a set of problems as a whole: even the adoption agreement itself appeared as a consequence of Russia's intentions to find "weak spots" of the United States in the rights sphere. For in requiring the United States to sign this agreement Russia was de facto attempting to obtain indirect acknowledgment of US liability for disregard of the rights of Russian orphans. Now, though, it turns out that the Kremlin is no longer comfortable even with the agreement recently pushed through by Moscow.
From the practical side there are many questions here as well. For example, it is unclear why Russian observers are being barred from American courts when all the legal proceedings there are of an
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