Schooling in Moscow: A Mixed Bag

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Vasily Kolotilov – January 25, 2016) “Some of the boys called my son “Obama’s little spy,” says Jynks Burton. “But they’re at that age I suppose, always looking for something to tease other boys about …” Burton’s eight-year-old son, Alex, makes a scowling face. He says he doesn’t want to talk about the incident. The […]

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NEWSLINK The Independent (UK): “Alexander Litvinenko accused Vladimir Putin of being a paedophile four months before he was poisoned”

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Number of Orphaned Russian Children Falls by Half

File Photo of Russian Orphans with Mr. and Mrs. Dmitry Medvedev

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – December 11, 2015) The number of children in Russian orphanages has decreased by half over the past three years, the Interfax news agency reported, citing deputy Prime Minister Olga Golodets. “In 2012, we had 119,000 orphans in our database, … now there are 73,000 orphaned children in Russia,” Golodets said, Interfax reported Friday. Despite a […]

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Moscow School Teaches Russian Boys to Look Up to Cavemen

Cave Art File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Eva Hartog – December 11, 2015) When Ruslan Goncharov, 25, refers back to the Stone Age, it is not for history’s sake, but as an example of better days. “Man goes out, kills a mammoth, brings the mammoth home to his wife, the wife prepares it and then saves the leftovers, salts them and so […]

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We’re right here; Building a society inclusive of autism in Russia involves battling with myths, superstition and the Soviet legacy. But civil society is forging ahead.

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

(opendemocracy.net – Natalia Antonova – December 2, 2015) Natalia Antonova was born in Kyiv and grew up in North Carolina. She works as a journalist and playwright. All over the world, autism is a condition that attracts scrutiny and controversy-it is both highly variable and often poorly understood. In Russia, a society still struggling with inherited Soviet disdain of anything […]

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Putin’s Pioneers: Push For Russian Youth League Stirs Debate, Doubt

Vladimir Putin file photo with VOA logo; screen shot from video still

(RFE/RL – Andrei Shary – November 15, 2015) As a youth growing up in Leningrad in the 1960s, Vladimir Putin was one of the few children in his school class who was not a member of the Soviet Young Pioneers. Now he seems determined not to let future generations of Russian children face such a fate. On October 29, the […]

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New lessons in economics: Russian parents struggle with school expenses as real incomes fall

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Alexander Bratersky, special to RBTH – September 3, 2015) As Russian students head back to school, the country’s continued economic downturn and decline in real income is forcing some parents to make difficult decisions about educational expenses. Victoria, a single mother of a 13-year-old son, used to make enough money to live comfortably […]

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Putin Calls on Young Russians to Work for the Glory of Their Country

Vladimir Putin file photo with VOA logo; screen shot from video still

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – September 3, 2015) Gifted young Russians should “most importantly” work for the glory of their country, President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday at a new center for gifted students in the southern city of Sochi. The center, which has been named “Sirius,” after the brightest star in the night sky, offers special programs […]

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Preparing a Child for a School Year Gets Too Expensive For Russian Parents

File Photo of U.S. Diplomat Teaching Class to Russian Students

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anastasia Bazenkova – August 31, 2015) As Russian children get ready to start a new school year this week, their parents have to cough up a record amount of money to equip them with everything they need, according to the latest study by a state-run pollster. An average Russian family will spend almost 20,000 rubles […]

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Russian Schoolchildren to Learn Two Foreign Languages

Russian Children File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – September 1, 2015) All Russian students will be required to learn two foreign languages before graduation, Education Minister Dmitry Livanov was cited as saying by the government daily Rossiiskaya Gazeta Tuesday. The new mandatory education program came into effect in all Russian schools at the start of the new school year on Tuesday. “Starting on […]

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Russians Consider Marrying, Giving Birth and Education Most Important Things

Couple in Hospital with Newborn

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Daria Litvinova – August 28, 2015) When asked what the most important things to do before turning 30 are, most Russians chose getting married, giving birth and receiving an education, while things like starting a business or traveling the world were at the bottom of the list, a poll released Wednesday by an independent Russian […]

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Adoption in Russia: Families Helping Families

Russian Orphanage file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexandra Tyan – August 27, 2015) It would be hard to find a better advocate for adoption in Russia than Ulia Khashem. With her pink curls, big eyes and handmade jewelry, it’s easy to see why people on social media call her a fairy godmother. Her job is to organize a summer camp for seriously […]

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Muscovites Having More Children Amid Drive to Promote Family Values

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Elizaveta Vereykina – July 5, 2015) Residents of the Russian capital are having more children and having them closer together – a trend that may increase as the state continues to fight the country’s demographic crisis and promote traditional family values. “While in the beginning of 2014 there were 90,000 families with three or more […]

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RBTH: How effective is Russian drive to combat ISIS recruiters?

Map of Area Spanning Portions of Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, highlighting military engagements against ISIL

People in both Russian diplomatic circles and the security forces have been describing Islamic State (ISIS) as a “real threat” for a long time now. On Aug. 1 a hotline will start working in Russia for those whose friends or family members have joined ISIS. With experts warning that ISIS cannot be defeated with force alone, RBTH found out what […]

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Classes Aimed at Raising a New Generation of Russian Businessmen

Cash, Calculator, Pen

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexandra Tyan – July 28, 2015) The newly renovated VDNKh park in northern Moscow is investing in the future with the Young Investor School, which will open at Pavilion 14 early next month. Starting on Aug. 6, every Thursday and Friday, children between the ages of 8-14 can learn about the career of investment banking […]

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A Moscow Education, in More Ways Than One

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Evan Haddad – July 27, 2015) A recent article published in British weekly Times Higher Education revealed that one in seven Russian undergraduates admits to cheating on exams. The figure is probably much higher. Any expat in Moscow teaching English will confirm that. Cheating in the Russian educational system is rampant, even acceptable. I experienced […]

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Poll: Russian Parents Hope to Raise Doctors, Not Priests

Medical Symbol with Pole, Serpents, Wings, adapted from image at lanl.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – June 2, 2015) Despite the fact that a significant majority of the population identifies as Orthodox Christian, fewer than 1 percent of Russians wish to see their children or grandchildren grow up to be priests, according a survey conducted by independent pollster the Levada Center. Similar polls conducted by the Levada Center over the past […]

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Juvenile delinquency rates down three-fold in Russia since early 1990s

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

MOSCOW. May 28 (Interfax) – Juvenile delinquency rates went down three-fold in Russia in the past 15 years, Russian First Deputy Interior Minister Alexander Gorovoi said on Thursday, on the occasion of the 80th anniversary of the juvenile delinquency service. “Juvenile delinquency rates peaked in the early 1990s. The rates are down three-fold in the past 15 years,” he said. […]

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‘Russia is the Motherland of Crimea’ – What Crimean Schoolchildren Think

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Peter Hobson – YALTA, Crimea – April 30, 2015) “Who do you think is responsible for the war in eastern Ukraine?” asked Masha, a 17-year old student at School No. 12 in Yalta, Crimea. I paused. “Russia.” A gasp went around the classroom. Masha looked at me as if I was mad. “No way,” she […]

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Eastern Ukraine’s Children Fall Prey to War

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

(Voice of America – voanews.com – Lisa Schlein – March 31, 2015) The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) reported that more than 150 children have been killed and maimed by landmines and unexploded ordnance during the past year in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of eastern Ukraine. According to the United Nations, the number of people killed in eastern Ukraine […]

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NEWSWATCH Wall Street Journal: In Russia, Exhibition Seeks to Show Ivan Wasn’t So Terrible

File Image of Ivan the Terrible Etching, adapted from image at loc.gov

[“In Russia, Exhibition Seeks to Show Ivan Wasn’t So Terrible; Medieval-history show raises question if Russia’s often-bloody history is being whitewashed to fuel nationalist campaign” – Wall Street Journal – JAMES MARSON – March 31, 2015] The Wall Street Journal covers efforts to rehabilitate the image of Ivan the Terrible, and questions about whether revisions of historical accounts are aimed at remaking the […]

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NEWSWATCH New York Times: Russian History Receives a Makeover That Starts With Ivan the Terrible

File Image of Ivan the Terrible Etching, adapted from image at loc.gov

[“Russian History Receives a Makeover That Starts With Ivan the Terrible” – New York Times – NEIL MacFARQUHAR and SOPHIA KISHKOVSKY – MARCH 30, 2015] The New York Times reports on a Russian historical exhibition that apparently attempts to rehabilitate the reputation of Ivan the Terrible, blaming foreigners for his negative image. Ivan the Terrible, the Russian czar, should really be considered […]

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Brighter future beckons for Russians with Down’s syndrome

File Photo of Child with Down's Syndrome, adapted from image at cdc.gov

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Maria Fedorishina, special to RBTH – March 25, 2015) There are some 2,500 babies with Down’s syndrome born in Russia every year. Many of them are abandoned by their parents at birth. However – mainly thanks to volunteer movements – society is now developing a more enlightened view of the condition, with some […]

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NEWSLINK AP: Ukraine’s grinding war stains innocence of childhood

Maidan Square in Kiev, Ukraine

Seryozha colors in his drawing of a tank, lost in thought. Like many 7-year-olds in eastern Ukraine, he has trouble recalling a time before the war. “They’ve always been shooting,” he says, vigorously scratching with the brightest of pencils.   http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/E/EU_UKRAINE_CHILDREN_OF_WAR?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT

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Russian 7th graders struggle to count and solve math problems, says study

Kremlin and Saint Basil's

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Gleb Fedorov – January 9, 2015) RBTH spoke to experts about the results of the National Study of Education Quality (NIKO), recently carried out in Russia. They illustrated the roots of the problems the country is experiencing with mathematics at school and explained why it is not worth relying on the international PISA assessments. Russia’s first […]

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‘Same-Sex Adoption’ Killed U.S.-Russian FLEX Exchange Program

FLEX Student Exchange Program Logo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – October 2, 2014) David Petrosyan had hoped his 15-year-old sister would spend a year studying at a U.S. high school, something he had done years earlier that had a lasting impact on his ambitious academic pursuits. “For me, doing a FLEX program proved that I can achieve something with my brain alone. It was […]

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Kremlin Moves Away From Aggressive Youth Policy

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – July 4, 2014) President Vladimir Putin signaled a switch Thursday from the government’s previous youth policy of aggressive political groups toward a more traditional approach to instilling patriotism. “We need to give young people more knowledge about Russia’s historical, cultural and natural riches back in school,” Putin said. “This is, perhaps, the […]

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Russia Beyond the Headlines: Teaching Moscow’s schoolchildren the value of kindness

File Photo of Boy in Wheelchair Being Dragged Along Stairs

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Anna Fefelova, special to RBTH – April 30, 2014) For the past 10 years, schools in Moscow having been providing their pupils with “kindness lessons”. The classes are run by specialists and provide children with a valuable opportunity to communicate with people with disabilities and develop an understanding of their needs. For the […]

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Russian schoolchildren no longer fit into their uniforms

File Photo of U.S. Diplomat Teaching Class to Russian Students

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Marina Obrazkova, RBTH – April 15, 2014) According to statistics, children in Russia have grown bigger over the past 10 years, largely due to changes in lifestyle and the quality of food. Experts have expressed concern over the trend and claim it is a symptom of a growing health problem among the country’s […]

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New Moscow centers give parentless children a live-in mother

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Tatyana Sudakova, special to RBTH – April 9, 2014) A new breed of children’s home is springing up around Moscow to replace the city’s orphanages. Here parentless children have the chance to get used to a family environment by living in comfortable modern surroundings with a “mother” who spends five days a week […]

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In The Wake Of Crimea Annexation, Patriotism Reigns In Russian Classrooms

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Lyubov Chizhova and Farangis Najibullah – MOSCOW – April 09, 2014) It will take some time to revise Russia’s history textbooks to reflect the annexation of Crimea. But that’s not preventing the authorities from moving quickly to assure the country’s school curriculum sticks to a politically — and patriotically — correct line on the issue. In recent weeks, a new […]

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The future’s in their hands

File Photo of U.S. Diplomat Teaching Class to Russian Students

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Anastasia Maltseva, special to RBTH – April 7, 2014) Sociologists have conducted research on what professions Russian parents would like their children to do in the future. The results follow the changing dynamics of the job market in recent years and show that humanities-based occupations are no longer seen as desirable. Sociologists at […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] State Council Presidium meeting on family, motherhood and childhood policy

File Photo of Russian Expectant Couple with Mother in Hospital Bed

(Kremlin.ru – February 17, 2014) Vladimir Putin held a State Council Presidium meeting on family, motherhood and childhood policy, in particular with regard to implementing the May 2012 Presidential Executive Orders. Taking part in the meeting were Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko, Deputy Prime Minister Olga Golodets, Presidential Aide Igor Levitin, the heads of federal ministries and agencies, and a […]

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First-Ever School Shooting Prompts Debate on Security

Kremlin and Saint Basil's

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Oleg Sukhov and Matthew Bodner – February 4, 2014) A 10th-grade student killed a geography teacher and a police officer and took children hostage at a Moscow school on Monday in Russia’s first-ever school shooting, triggering a debate on security at educational institutions and over the right to bear arms. The incident was widely compared […]

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Moscow School Shooting Hints at Pain of Forgotten Generation

Kremlin and Saint Basil's

MOSCOW, February 3 (Alexey Eremenko, RIA Novosti) – The school shooting, a nightmare scenario most commonly associated with the United States, was visited upon Russia on Monday in an attack that left two people dead. There was little about the suspected perpetrator – a retiring, 15-year-old straight-A pupil – that aroused suspicion. Some education experts fear, however, that the boy […]

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Domestic Adoptions Policy Showing Results, Astakhov Says

Russian Orphanage file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Natalya Krainova – January 21, 2014) The number of Russian orphans and abandoned children has dropped from 140,000 to a little under 107,000 in the past five years, due to state policies encouraging domestic adoptions, children’s ombudsman Pavel Astakhov said Monday. Following the controversial ban on U.S. adoptions that took effect in January 2013, the […]

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Interfax: Over 65,000 children were adopted in Russia in 2013 – Astakhov

Pavel Astakhov file photo

MOSCOW. Jan 16 (Interfax) – The number of children adopted in Russia went up almost 7% in 2013, Russian presidential children’s rights ombudsman Pavel Astakhov said. “In 2013, 65,600 children were adopted, which is a 6.7% increase from the previous year,” Astakhov told a press conference. At the same time, Astakhov said there were no special financial incentives for people […]

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Teachers, parents concerned Russia’s state exam harming classroom learning

File Photo of U.S. Diplomat Teaching Class to Russian Students

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Dmitriy Romendik, RBTH – December 19, 2013) The quality of secondary education is an issue widely debated by the Russian public, as parents are increasingly concerned by falling teaching standards. The most objective measurement of schoolchildren’s academic performance is the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA). It tests 15-year-old schoolchildren every three years. […]

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VIDEO: U.S. Ambassador McFaul Says No Boycott Of Sochi Olympics, Addresses U.S.-Russian Relations, Ukraine, Adoptions, other issues

Ambassador Mike McFaul file photo

Ambassador Michael McFaul, U.S. Ambassador to the Russian Federation, addresses U.S.-Russian Relations, Ukraine, the Sochi Olympics, adoptions and other matters, in this video by RFE/RL’s Russian Service. McFaul is interviewed in Russian, with English subtitles. The video was dated December 17, 2013.

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Undercover at a Russian Hospital

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Eradzh Nidoev – December 13, 2013) It’s 10 a.m. on a Sunday. A thin layer of fog hangs in the air, but I can clearly see the dilapidated concrete building in front of me. It is one of the biggest children’s hospitals in Moscow. I am here to work as an unpaid volunteer. “Do you […]

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Interfax: Most orphans who did not go to U.S. were adopted by Russian families – diplomat

Russian Orphanage file photo

MOSCOW. Nov 26 (Interfax) – Most Russian orphans whose adoption by American families was prohibited by the Dima Yakovlev law have already been adopted by Russian citizens or have been returned to their biological mothers, Konstantin Dolgov, the Russian Foreign Ministry’s human rights envoy, told Interfax on Tuesday. “Most of these children have already been transferred to their new Russian […]

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Interfax: Astakhov Criticizes Western Juvenile Justice, Nontraditional Families

Pavel Astakhov file photo

MOSCOW. Nov 19 (Interfax) – The Western form of juvenile justice will not work in Russia, Russian children’s rights commissioner Pavel Astakhov said. “My principled stance is that the Western style, a virtually bankrupt form of juvenile justice is not viable,” Astakhov told reporters on Tuesday. “It is not viable in Russia because the equality between parents and a child […]

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Number of Orphans Six Times Larger Than Russians Ready to Adopt

File Photo of Russian Orphans with Mr. and Mrs. Dmitry Medvedev

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – November 19, 2013) For every six orphans awaiting adoption in Russia, there is only one family in the country hoping to take in a child, government statistics show. More than 100,000 orphans are listed in a registry maintained by the Education and Science Ministry, the head of its child protection department, Yevgeny Silyanov said, Interfax […]

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Interfax: Demographic situation in Russia among reasons behind U.S. adoption ban – Astakhov

File Photo of Russian Orphans with Mr. and Mrs. Dmitry Medvedev

MOSCOW. Nov 13 (Interfax) – One of the reasons why Russia has banned U.S. citizens from adopting Russian children is the demographic issue, Russian children’s rights commissioner Pavel Astakhov said. “We have a demographic forecast: the infant population in Russia will be about 22 million by 2025. And the United States will have 105 [million] by 2025. Is there a […]

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Interfax: Russia did not violate intl law by banning homosexuality propaganda among minors – children’s ombudsman

Kremlin and St. Basil's

MOSCOW. Nov 14 (Interfax) – Russia did not violate international law by imposing a ban on propaganda of homosexual relations among minors, Russian presidential children’s rights envoy Pavel Astakhov says. “Propaganda of homosexuality among children violates commonly accepted principles and norms of international law,” the envoy’s press service quoted him as saying at the international parliamentary forum on ‘Constitution. Democracy. […]

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Russians Back Domestic Adoptions but Don’t Want to Be Parents

File Photo of Russian Orphans with Mr. and Mrs. Dmitry Medvedev

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – November 13, 2013) While most Russians believe that orphans should be adopted by Russian families, only 16 percent are willing to bring a child into their homes, according to a survey released Wednesday. Some 62 percent of Russians say that growing up in an adoptive family is better than in a Russian orphanage, and more […]

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Interfax: Russia has fewer orphans but too few of them find new families – Astakhov

File Photo of Russian Orphans with Mr. and Mrs. Dmitry Medvedev

MOSCOW. Nov 12 (Interfax) – Russia has fewer children without parents – the number of orphans registered yearly dropped 40%, Russian children’s rights commissioner Pavel Astakhov said. At the same time, the number of children in orphanages is “unacceptably high,” Astakhov said. The commissioner spoke at an all-Russian congress of orphanage heads on Tuesday. Russian courts rule less often in […]

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Only ‘One of 33 Orphans’ Denied U.S. Adoption Finds Russian Home

Russian Orphanage file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – November 6, 2013) Out of the 33 St. Petersburg orphans who were set to be given new homes by U.S. families last year before their moves were blocked by Russian legislation, only one has been legally adopted by Russian parents, a news report said. The 33 children already had potential American families, but were prevented […]

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