Roger Kimball ponders Putin’s pawns,
What I’m thinking about at the moment is not jailed pop singers, murdered journalists, or poisoned former KGB agents. There are plenty of those. No, I’m thinking about Russia’s most helpless citizens (subjects?), the babies who might have been adopted by American families eager for children. In the bad old days of the Soviet Union, you could be shot for trying to escape. In the bad new days, Putin signs a bill banning U.S. citizens from adopting Russian children. “Russian officials,” The Wall Street Journal reports, “portrayed the latest legislation as a tit-for-tat retaliation against a new U.S. law that seeks to punish Russians accused of human-rights violations.” Right. Leave aside the question of whether the U.S. law in question makes political sense. The outrage here is that Putin responds by punishing his own citizens, denying them freedom and a chance for a better life in America. “Critics allege that the law makes political pawns out of Russian orphans,” the WSJ writes, noting that their “living conditions can be dire and prospects for adoption often slim.” That about sums it up.
Nor are Russian babies the only pawns in this game. The legislation that Putin signed today also bans U.S. charities from operating in Russia, thus depriving Russians of the sustenance those many charities offer.
Putin’s all about his power.
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