Russian Lawmakers Spurn Call From 100,000 to Review Adoption Ban

Russia’s lower house of parliament rejected a call to review a law barring adoptions of Russian children by U.S. citizens after activists raised 100,000 signatures in an online petition opposing the ban.

Vladimir Pligin, head of the legislative committee at the State Duma, said “there is nothing to discuss” because the appeal didn’t comprise a “legislative initiative,” according to a statement e-mailed today by the parliamentary faction of the ruling United Russia party. The independent Novaya Gazeta newspaper led the drive to collect 100,000 signatures on the Internet against the law.

Russia barred U.S. adoptions in retaliation for American sanctions over the death in custody of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, who’d alleged a $230 million tax fraud by Russian officials. The ban took effect on Jan. 1. Last year, President Vladimir Putin ordered that every proposal that garners 100,000 signatures should be reviewed by lawmakers.

Tens of thousands of Russians braved freezing temperatures yesterday to rally against the legislation and join a procession through central Moscow called a “March Against Scoundrels.” Protesters also called for parliament to be disbanded, with a separate petition demanding the legislature’s breakup on Novaya Gazeta’s website raising more than 120,000 signatures as of 3:30 p.m. today.

Reviewing a call for the dissolution of parliament would be “illegitimate,” Pligin said in the statement.

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