Protests against Dima Yakovlev law will strike back at opposition

Author: us-russia
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Protests against Dima Yakovlev law will strike back at opposition
Published 21-01-2013, 15:01

Sergei Markov

Sergei Markov is Deputy of the State Duma of Russia; Deputy Chairman of the State Duma’s Committee on Public Associations and Religious Organizations; Chairman of the National Civic Council on International Affairs; Member of the Public Chamber of Russia.
The media uproar and the January 13 rally against the Dima Yakovlev law do not reflect the opinion of the majority of Russians, who support the law prohibiting foreign adoptions. It is a well-orchestrated campaign that was launched at the president’s news conference in late 2012. I was astonished by the strength and coordination of that information attack. The political opposition used their tame media outlets to launch a propaganda PR campaign: journalists asked the president several differently worded questions about foreign adoption. 

The campaign is designed to discredit the authorities and to achieve other political goals and ambitions. The so-called Dima Yakovlev law is the Russian authorities' response to US actions to emasculate the US-Russian agreement on adoption and to prevent Russian agencies from monitoring the welfare of adopted Russian children. President Putin replied patiently and used solid arguments to defend his position on the law on foreign adoption. 

The authorities are using moral rather than political and economic arguments, because society is gradually abandoning the ideology of excessive cynicism, called pragmatism, which has been the dominant ideology of the first 20 post-Soviet years. Other values are gradually gaining in importance. A growing number of people, in particular the middle class, are waking up to the existence of moral values. 

I believe that the campaign against the Dima Yakovlev law was initiated by foreign sponsors, most probably the headquarters of Hermitage Capital Management founder Bill Browder, who has devoted his energy to securing the adoption of the Magnitsky Act. Therefore, the campaign against the Dima Yakovlev law is likely to have highly negative consequences for the opposition. Moreover, it will mean political suicide for them.

The authorities initially launched the attack on the Bolotnaya Square opposition by claiming that its members were "foreign agents.” When they adopted the law on foreign agents, the media rose in defense of the opposition, who argued that they are not foreign agents. But the Dima Yakovlev campaign has shown who is what. 

To begin with, people support the ban on foreign adoption, which is also prohibited in many EU countries. For example, the Romanian government approved such a ban under pressure from the EU authorities.

If the January 13 rally were held in support of orphans’ rights, it would be proper and right. But the opposition actually joined forces to support the right of foreigners to take away Russian children, which will more than likely create an unbridgeable rift between the opposition leaders and the general public. They have strong supporters, as evidenced by the fact that between 8,000 to 10,000 people attended the rally. But this is a classic Pyrrhic victory, a victory that actually amounts to a strategic loss. Applying the Bolotnaya Square slogan, "We Won’t Forget, We Won’t Forgive,” to the opposition, it can be said that the Russian public will never forget that the opposition has risen up in support of letting Russian children be adopted by foreigners rather than improving their lives in Russia. 

Foreign adoption will be abolished in Russia not according to law but according to accepted practice. Important strategic decisions have been taken following debates on the issue of Russian orphans. Putin has signed orders to simplify the adoption procedure for Russians, and a new procedure has been approved for orphans with disabilities. The biggest problem is that people who would like to adopt children with disabilities do not have sufficiently large homes to adopt such children or sufficient incomes to pay for their considerable medical expenses. 

Under the new provisions, the government will continue to finance medical assistance for children with disabilities after they have been adopted. Therefore, potential adoptive parents will no longer have to prove their solvency, and the number of families willing to adopt orphans will increase significantly. The issue has been brought to public attention, and I am sure that the number of orphans adopted in Russia will increase rapidly, so that soon there will be no Russian orphans available for foreign adoption. 

 

Valdai Club

 

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