Thursday, December 27, 2012

Russia fires back: At itself!

There must be a mysterious cultural chauvinism which explains why some people or some countries decide to respond by hurting themselves after another person or nation upsets them or somehow insults them.

I don't really understand it. It strikes me as completely irrational.

Russia has recently decided to enact a law punishing Russian orphans, because the U.S. passed a law aimed at corrupt Russian legislators. Makes sense?

This kind of "retaliation" reminds me of the response of many residents in inner-city Los Angeles after acquittals came down for the police officers who had beaten Rodney King: They decided the best response was to burn down the stores and factories in their neighborhoods where they shopped and they worked. In other words, they decided to punish themselves.

This is the Washington Post's take on the Russian "retaliation."

Russian President Vladimir Putin, acceding to the anti-American fervor that has gripped the country’s legislature, said Thursday that he intends to sign a bill barring Americans from adopting Russian children.
Various Kremlin officials had criticized the bill, which was designed as a means of retaliation against a new American law that targets corrupt Russian officials, but Putin has chosen not to heed their advice.

Having spent the past year stoking hostility toward the United States, he is now faced with an emotional response from parliament that seems to be on the verge of getting away from him. Though he raised questions about the adoption bill at his annual press conference earlier this month, and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Science and Education Minister Dmitry Livanov, among others, have called it ill-advised, on Thursday Putin said, “I have not seen any reason why I should not sign it.”

No good reason to not sign it, Vlad? How about the fact that it does not hurt the United States. Rather, it hurts Russia and it hurts these children who will not have homes.

The journalist Alexander Minkin, on his blog for the Ekho Moskvy Web site, described the Russian bill as “cannibalistic”: With Americans placing sanctions on certain corrupt Russian bureaucrats, he wrote, Moscow strikes back by punishing its own orphans.
What is shocking about Russia is that they lack a culture of adoptions. They have hundreds of thousands of orphans in need of homes, but Russian families will not adopt them. If a child in Russia has a handicap, it is common for his parents to abandon him. Those children never get adopted by other Russians.

About 740,000 children live in Russian orphanages, according to UNICEF; many of their parents are still alive. Over the past 20 years, 60,000 Russians have been adopted by Americans, including a significant number with developmental disabilities.

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