open nature. A source in the Foreign Ministry told Kommersant that
Russia's consular services simply lacked the money for the regular
and thorough tracking of the fortunes of Russian orphans in the
United States. It is unclear what now will happen to the children
who are in the final phase of adoption: Vladimir Putin was unable to
answer this question at his news conference.
In an even more vulnerable position (practically at the critical level) are the members of the State Duma, who voted practically en bloc for the adoption of the law. Only four voted "against" in the second reading. In other words, this is political consensus of all the parliamentary factions, which never before in Russian history has had such enormous repercussions with the response to the bill in the information field. Consequently, the adoption of the bill has resembled an act of State Duma self-humiliation. The situation was compounded also by the fact that Deputy Vyacheslav Osipov, who, it was already known, had passed away that day, voted "for" the bill (and 30 times that day altogether). There were simultaneously rumors of United Russia members being coerced into support for the "children's law": Public Post says that Deputy Aleksandr Sidyakin, author of the infamous amendments to the nonprofits law, abstained. The publication says that Sidyakin, who simply did not hit the button, was ordered to sign a statement that the button "broke" or a statement on withdrawal from the faction. He refused to sign a statement on the "failure" and could in the very near future be resigning. Sidyakin, a Public Post source says, was about to make a career in the Duma through the nonprofits law, but was not prepared to do so at the expense of children. Nor was the document supported by opera singer Mariya Maksakova-Igenbergs, who frequently performs abroad.
The voting model differed little, though, from other similar occasions (during passage through the Duma of the laws on demonstrations, foreign agents, high treason, and others), but the difference consists of the wider public repercussions and the possible negative consequences for the deputies, who (theoretically for the time being) could become personae non gratae for the West.
We now have a paradoxical situation, whereby a political leader relying, as he believes, on the support of the majority on this issue is attempting to earn political capital while devaluing even more than earlier the authority of the legislative branch of power in the eyes of the most active and politically capable part of Russian society. At the same time, on the other hand, a more serious demarcation than a year ago has occurred in the elites--we are now talking about a "children's" problem, which is being perceived even more emotionally than the ballot-rigging. Power has been patently confused--it hardly expected this reaction--but it sees a way out of the situation on the path of escalation of the conflict. Following Vladimir Putin's news conference, regime propaganda in support of the bill has been stepped up, but new symbolic characters are joining in the protests (Andrey Makarevich sent Putin a letter against the ban on adoption, omitting to call the president "dear" here). The opposition is demanding that the deputies who voted for the bill be put on the Magnitskiy List, which is evoking an extremely nervous reaction in the potential persons involved (Vyacheslav Nikonov even emotionally mentioned that the impact of such an action could be compared with a severance of diplomatic relations). It would appear that the confrontation will persist and even intensify, which could result both in a further complication of relations with the West and in an intensification of opposed trends within the country--an anti-Western and anti-liberal reaction on the one hand and a rejection of the policy of the authorities on the part of the active strata of society on the other.
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