Russia moves to ban U.S. adoptions

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MOSCOW -- Russia's parliament gave overwhelming preliminary approval Wednesday to a measure banning Americans from adopting Russian children, a harsh retaliatory move against U.S. human rights legislation.

But the proposal appears to be too extreme for some senior Russian officials. The foreign minister and the education minister spoke out flatly against an adoption ban, and the speaker of the upper house of parliament, a close ally of President Vladimir Putin, suggested the lower house members were letting emotions overtake rationality.

Putin, who has the authority to veto legislation, has made no public comment on the adoption provision. But his spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, indicated yesterday the Russian leader regards it as excessive. Peskov told the Interfax news agency that, although Putin understands the emotions that prompted the move, "the executive powers are taking a more restrained line."

Before becoming law, the measure has to pass a third reading in the State Duma, which is set for Friday, after which it would go to the upper house, the Federation Council, and then require Putin's signature.

The legislation further steps up animosity with Washington by calling for closure of political organizations in Russia that receive American funding.

Both strictures were included as amendments in the second reading in the State Duma of a bill prompted by last week's signing by President Barack Obama of a U.S. law that allows sanctions against Russians deemed to be human rights violators. on ban. -- AP

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