You’ve got to hand it to Vladimir Putin and his pals. They really know how to stick it to Uncle Sam. Not.
On Friday the Obama administration reluctantly complied with the Sergei Magnitsky Act, a law passed by Congress and named in honor of a Russian lawyer who did not receive adequate medical care and died in prison after trying to expose widespread governmental corruption. The act compels the administration to bar from entry into the U.S. and from the use of our banking system any Russian officials responsible for Magnitsky’s mistreatment. The administration duly complied by barring some two dozen individuals, some of them in secret, including, it has been reported, the Russian henchman who now serves as president of Chechnya.
It is hard to overstate the cynicism and cruelty of Vladimir Putin. He is willing to use orphans as his pawns in his public-relations battle against the West. That’s no exaggeration, given that he has just signed a law forbidding Americans to adopt Russian children. Approximately 650,000 of them live in orphanages and foster care including a substantial number who are sick or disabled and are unlikely to ever find a permanent home. Russian orphanages have a reputation for terrible conditions and rampant abuse. They are some of the grimmest places to live in the industrialized world.
If the new law had not been passed, a few of the kids stuck there would undoubtedly have benefitted from being adopted by well-meaning Americans such as Heather and Aaron Whaley of Frederick, Maryland, who say they are devout Christians eager to adopt a 4-year-old Russian girl with developmental issues. But now that is not to be.