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Duma members indignant over another death of Russia child in US

February 20, 2013, 11:34 UTC+3

According to preliminary information, the three-year-old Maxim Kuzmin died in an adoptive family from Texas

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Member of the State Duma lower house of Russia’s parliament on Tuesday sharply reacted to news about the death of an adopted child from Russia in the United States. According to preliminary information, the three-year-old Maxim Kuzmin died in an adoptive family from Texas. The Russian parliamentarians demanded explanations from US Ambassador Michael McFaul and do not want to allow the children, the adoption procedure of which has already been completed, to leave the country.

Having received confirmation that they were right when adopted the “Dima Yakovlev law,” the MPs demanded a meeting with US Ambassador Michael McFaul for a conversation about the fate of Russian orphans in the United States, the Kommersant daily writes. Human rights activists and experts of the Public Chamber believe that for the MPs it would be better to address the problem of violence against children in Russia, the settlement of which will require radical reform of the entire national child welfare system.

Head of the Duma Committee on Affairs of Family, Women and Children, A Just Russia member Yelena Mizulina expressed indignation over the “lies and hypocrisy” of the US State Department, which in the event of death of an adopted child “should immediately hold consultations with the Russian side.” This, she said, is required by Article 14 of the Russian-American agreement on adoption, which, although was denounced by the Russian Federation in January, is still in effect for another year.

On Monday evening, the Investigative Committee of Russia (SK) opened a criminal case over the murder in the United States of Maxim Kuzmin. The SK intends to request in absentia the arrest of the foster mother of the child who was killed in the United States.

The Russian Public Chamber told the Kommersant newspaper that the American delegation comprising representatives of the US State Department and the US Department of Justice (DOJ) during the past week was in Russia, discussing the problems of adoption. The US side is also extremely worried by the tragic deaths of Russian children in adoptive families, head of the Public Chamber’s working on Childhood and Family Policy Olga Kostina said. Moreover, the Americans, she said, are concerned over the general growth of household violence, the victims of which are “even own children, not just adopted ones.” Both sides, Kostina believes, could jointly search for and work out effective countermeasures.

“Over the first nine months of last year, 1,292 underage children were killed in the country in criminal assaults,” Kostina told the publication. The investigation bodies have investigated 10,277 crimes, including 345 murders, 812 rapes, 1,803 sexual assaults and 3,141 crimes against sexual integrity. In addition to the crime statistics, law enforcement officials, as it turned out, are also aware of the state of affairs in Russian orphanages. “In an orphanage in the Trans-Baikal Territory the older children during 10 years were raping the younger,” the SK chairman’s aide, Igor Komissarov, told the roundtable discussion participants.

Deputy speaker of the Federation Council upper house of parliament Olga Orlova called for imposing a ban on leaving the country for 50 orphans, earlier adopted by Americans, the RBC Daily emphasises. The State Duma began its Tuesday’s meeting with a minute of silence in memory of Maxim, and US Ambassador Michael McFaul was invited to a meeting of the State Duma Committee on Family Affairs.

Pavel Astakhov, the Children’s Rights Commissioner for the President of the Russian Federation, told the Nezavisimaya Gazeta newspaper that the Prosecutor’s Office of Texas is actively cooperating with Russia on “the Maxim Kuzmin case.” “This time, the Americans have immediately disclosed the information about what and how happened. They have two weeks to decide on the opening of the criminal case, but the time may be extended; 30 days for checking the case circumstances are expiring on Wednesday.” According to the newspaper, Russia, the same as in previous cases, is not going to use local lawyers in the “case of Maxim Kuzmin.”

Chairman of the Duma Committee on Security and Combating Corruption Irina Yarovaya made another strong statement on the death of Maxim Kuzmin, the Moskovsky Komsomolets newspaper writes. “The United States have failed to draw conclusions from the tragedies with the death of Russian children, did not take measures to protect their lives, failed to duly punish those who committed crimes against them.”







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