You know what sucks? When governments use the lives of their most vulnerable citizens as weapons in their own petty bullshit. In this instances, Mother Russia is acting like a real d-bag.
According to Masha Gessen of the New York Times' Latitude blog, the ban on American adoptions is "to retaliate against a U.S. ban on entry visas and financial transactions by a group of Russian officials believed to be implicated in the death of the auditor Sergei Magnitsky in a Moscow jail in 2009." This ban was signed into law by Obama on Dec. 14, and soon after, Russian Parliament put the breaks on American adoptions.
It makes little sense to keep Russian kids in orphanages in order to teach the United States a lesson, but there is apparently nothing else Russian lawmakers can think to deny the Americans quickly and easily.
The Duma, Russia's lower house of Parliament, approved the ban last Wednesday, followed quickly by a four-and-a-half-hour press conference from Putin in which he didn't denounce it. According to Gessen, it appears almost certain the ban will become law.
Even sadder, Gessen writes that many sick and disabled children are sometimes adopted by Americans. It looks like those children will suffer the most.
The Betrayal of Russian Orphans [NY Times]