A spokesperson for Russian President Vladimir Putin [official website, in Russian; JURIST news archive] on Thursday said [RIA Novosti report] that Russia will delay the enforcement of the ban of the adoption of Russian children by US citizens until January 2014. As a result, Russia will continue to honor the validity of the "existing bilateral adoption agreement between Russia and the United States." Putin signed the ban [JURIST report] in late December. The Russian adoption law is known as the Yakovlev initiative, after US-adopted Russian toddler Dima Yakolev, who died in Virginia in 2008. The spokesperson did not directly discuss the status of the 46 adoptions that were in process when the law was scheduled to take effect.
The Russian Legal Information Agency (RAPSI) [official website], a legal information agency which operates in coordination with Russian courts, reports the Yakovlev initiative was adopted in retaliation [RAPSI report] against the US Magnitsky Act [text]. The new US legislation places financial and visa sanctions on officials connected to the arrest, imprisonment and death of Sergei Magnitsky [BBC report], a lawyer and whistleblower who unearthed a US$230 million tax fraud, and was subsequently arrested by the police officers he accused of carrying out the fraud. Magnitsky died in prison in 2009 [JURIST report]. The Yakovlev initiative comes just months after Russia and the US entered into an agreement [JURIST report] tightening restrictions on international adoptions.