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    Dima Yakovlev Law in Facts

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    Russian lower house of parliament passed the so-called Dima Yakovlev Law, which banned the adoption of Russian children by US citizens two years ago on December 21, 2012.

    Portrait of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky who died in jail, is held by his mother Nataliya Magnitskaya, as she speaks during an interview with the AP in Moscow
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    MOSCOW, December 21 (Sputnik) — On December 21, 2012, the Russian lower house of parliament passed the so-called Dima Yakovlev Law, which banned the adoption of Russian children by US citizens.

    The Federal Law On Measures Against Persons Involved in Violations of Fundamental Human Rights and Freedoms and Rights and Freedoms of Russian Citizens is named after the two-year-old Russian boy, who suffocated to death after his adoptive American father left him locked in a car in the sun, and in memory of all Russians children who died or were injured at the hands of their adoptive parents in the United States.

    The Dima Yakovlev Law was adopted in response to the Magnitsky Act, passed by the United States on December 14, 2012, which imposed visa restrictions against Russian citizens who were allegedly involved in human rights abuses.

    The law applies to US citizens who violated the rights of Russian citizens, or were involved in the crimes against them. The law provides for creating a list of these individuals, in order to deny them entry to Russia, and suspends the activity of legal entities under their control in the country.

    The law's second reading resulted in an amendment, according to which, the law applies "to the citizens of those countries, which have banned the entry of Russian citizens and froze their assets on the grounds of their alleged involvement in human rights violations."

    Apart from banning the adoptions of Russian children in the United States, the Dima Yakovlev Law introduced a regulation, prohibiting the activity of US adoption agencies and cancelled the US-Russian agreement on the adoption of minors. The law also banned the operation of political non-profit organizations (NPO) funded from the United States and of NPOs whose activities pose a threat to Russia's interests.

    Under the law, the Ministry of Justice can suspend the operation of the non-profit organizations that "participate in political activities in Russia and receive funds and other property from US citizens (or organizations) or implement various projects and programs in Russia or are involved in any other activity that threatens the interests of the Russian Federation." If such an NPO has stopped receiving payments from US citizens or organizations, or has stopped implementing projects damaging Russia's interests, it can resume its activity by the decision of the Ministry of Justice.

    The law also states that a person with a double Russian-US citizenship cannot be a member or the head of an NPO or its subsidiaries, engaged in political activity in Russia. The violation of this prohibition entails termination of the NPO's activity and seizure of all funds and property.

    The law sparked a serious public outcry. Minister of Education and Science Dmitry Livanov was among the first critics of the law. The tit for tat logic of the law, the minister wrote in his Twitter account, was wrong, as it hurt Russian children, who could not find adoptive parents in Russia.

    Deputy Prime Minister Olga Golodets, who oversees social issues in the government, called on the president not to sign the law.

    United Nations General Assembly
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    The law was also criticized by Yelena Mizulina, the head of the State Duma Committee on Family Issues, Women and Children. Mizulina said the ban on the adoption of Russian children by US citizens would deprive about 50,000 already adopted children of their Russian citizenship, and will prevent many of the close to 100,000, presently living in orphanages, of finding a real family.

    The Human Rights Council under the President found that the Dima Yakovlev Law contradicted the Constitution.

    In addition, renowned Russian journalists wrote a letter to President Vladimir Putin, in which they noted that not all orphans living in orphanages are adopted by Russian adoptive parents and called on the authorities not to make the children hostages to politics and not to deprive them of the future.

    On December 26, 2012, the Federation Council, higher parliamentary house, voted in favor of the Dima Yakovlev Law.

    On December 28, 2012, the law was signed by Vladimir Putin. On January 1, 2013, the Dima Yakovlev Law came into force.

    As required by the law, 60 US citizens were banned from entering Russia. The list includes judges, agents and members of the security services, prosecutors involved in the trial of Russian citizens Viktor Bout and Konstantin Yaroshenko, members of the US Congress, who sponsored the Magnitsky Act, and Americans who abused the rights of adopted Russian children.

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    children, child adoption, United States, Russia
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