On December 28, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed into law a bill banning U.S. citizens from adopting Russian children. His move was taken in response to the passage of America’s Magnitsky Act on December 14. This act, a successor to the Cold War-era Jackson-Vanik amendment which linked Soviet emigration to trade, was named after Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian lawyer who uncovered a $230 million Interior Ministry embezzlement scheme which Foreign Policy magazine labeled Russia’s “crime of the century.” In revenge for exposing its corruption, the Interior Ministry ordered Magnitsky’s arrest in 2008. He was tortured and murdered in prison. The Magnitsky Act sanctions Russia’s worst human rights violators by denying them U.S. visas and freezing their assets in U.S. banks.
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