] As emotions over US-Russia adoptions intensify, a rift widens into a chasm

In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review

As emotions over US-Russia adoptions intensify, a rift widens into a chasm

By Fred Weir

Russia has supplied American couples with approximately 60,000 children in the past two decades. 20,000 Ruskis marched through downtown Moscow to support the ban on all adoptions of Russian orphans by US citizens passed by the State Duma late last year. Why it hapened and what the deepest divide of public misunderstanding between East and West since the cold war ended means

JewishWorldReview.com |

mOSCOW — (TCSM) Angry demonstrators in the streets of Moscow echoed top Russian government officials over the weekend in casting doubt on a Texas autopsy finding that the January death of a Russian-born adoptee, 3-year-old Max Shatto, was an accident.

In a diplomatic rift that's becoming increasingly shrill, the Kremlin children's rights ombudsman, Pavel Astakhov, who had earlier accused the child's adoptive US parents of "murder," suggested that the US government was guilty of a cover-up and of whitewashing the case.

The official autopsy report, representing the conclusions of three local medical examiners and one outside expert, found that Max, born Maxim Kuzmin in Pskov, Russia, almost certainly died accidentally due to a self-inflicted blow.

Astakhov and other Russian officials are demanding that Max's younger brother Kirill, whose American name is Kristopher, be taken away from the same adoptive family and be repatriated to Russia.

In an interview with the official Voice of Russia radio station, Mr. Astakhov listed the reasons to doubt the report, including differences with preliminary information, what he described as "rushed forensics," and the fact that Max was buried in Louisiana, not Texas, which he said would make a second autopsy more difficult.

The Russian foreign ministry's human rights commissioner, Konstantin Dolgov, posted a statement Saturday calling the autopsy results "incomplete" and demanding US authorities turn over all relevant documentation to Russia, including the boy's death certificate.

"Only an examination of these documents will enable meaningful conclusions to be reached about the circumstances surrounding the Russian child's death and determine our possible future steps," Mr. Dolgov said. "We are expecting that the US side will fulfill its obligations on this matter fully and without delay."

Experts say the emotional nature of the controversy is starting to turn what started out as a diplomatic flap between the US and Russia, including dueling human rights laws, into the deepest chasm of public misunderstanding between East and West since the cold war ended.


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"President Vladimir Putin is using populist campaigns like this and aggressive foreign policy positions to strengthen his own legitimacy in the eyes of Russians," says Nikolai Petrov, an expert with the Moscow Carnegie Center.

"This is a very emotive issue, involving allegations of deliberate abuse of Russian children by American parents, and sounds like the Kremlin is standing up for the defense of those children.... Astakhov in particular, and the Kremlin in general, also need to keep face, after making a lot of allegations about the death of that little boy before the facts were all in. This is all for domestic consumption, but it has serious implications for Russia's image around the world," he says.

On Saturday, Russian officials got a boost from the streets, as up to 20,000 people marched through downtown Moscow to support the ban on all adoptions of Russian orphans by US citizens passed by the State Duma late last year.

The march was organized by a new pro-Kremlin group called Russian Mothers, which says its goal is to bring home all Russia's lost children and work to find homes in Russia for all the country's approximately 120,000 institutionalized children.

Critics say Russian Mothers is a Kremlin pocket group, and the Russian blogosphere was full of allegations that many of the marchers were paid to come out, or ordered by their bosses in state companies and institutions.

But Irina Bergset, one of the founders of Russian Mothers, says the organization was started a year ago to defend Russian families against what she claims is rampant abuse of Russian children by foreigners.

"We want to draw the world's attention to the forced confiscation of Russian children," Ms. Bergset says.

"Our purpose is to unite all forces and political organizations to protect our children, all political, religious, and other forces who believe that international adoption should be stopped... The mass media is full of stories that show there is an epidemic of violence against children in the US, some 6 million cases per year. We have child abuse in Russia too, but there is no such epidemic. We need to cope with this problem, and quickly," she says.

A January poll by the independent Levada Center in Moscow found that about half of Russians approve of the Dima Yakovlev Act, which bans all US adoptions of Russian children, while about 30 percent disapprove.

Bergset, who addressed Saturday's rally, says that Max's case has touched a public nerve in Russia and that people should no longer believe that the US, or Americans, can be trusted.

"We do not believe that the adoptive parents of Maxim are innocent," she says. "We have a different attitude toward children here in Russia, perhaps due to cultural differences, we don't treat them like cats and dogs.... This autopsy verdict is a slap in the face of Russian civil society; we cannot accept it," she says.

There have been 19 documented cases of Russian children dying due to abuse or neglect in adoptive American homes, out of approximately 60,000 US-Russia adoptions in the past two decades.

That's a far lower rate than the 1,220 Russian children who've died at the hands of adoptive Russian parents in Russia, out of approximately 170,000 adoptions in the same period.

Experts say rates of child abuse in Russia are extremely high, and efforts to address the problem are hampered by lack of public education, media reluctance to cover the issue, and an unwillingness on the part of authorities and courts to prosecute offenders.

Astakhov has argued that the adoption ban is just the first step toward implementing his Russia Without Orphans program, which he says will eventually provide happy homes inside Russia for all its children.

But Tatiana Tulchinskaya, director of Here and Now, a charity that works with orphanages, says that all the negativity building up around the issue is not helping Russian children.

"I wish I could say that all the discussion around this is a good thing, and will lead us to better understanding of the issues. But it's unfortunate that the starting point was that law banning US adoptions rather than a real conversation about why we have so many orphans in Russia," she says.

"In the specialist community we've been talking about the real problems for a long time before all this hysteria began. Child care specialists are certainly ready to offer serious advise to our authorities, but are they ready to listen?"

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