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Duma Postpones Ratification of U.S. Adoption Pact

State Duma Deputy Yelena Mizulina, who called a Kemerovo ban on U.S. adoptions "unconstitutional."

The State Duma on Friday postponed a vote on ratifying a long-awaited adoptions treaty with the United States that proponents hope will help combat abuse by U.S. foster families.

Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin proposed that the vote on the treaty be moved to next week because of the busy agenda in the lower house of parliament Friday, Interfax reported.

The treaty, which was signed last year, stipulates a new certification and monitoring regime for adoptive parents.

Russian officials demanded the treaty after a string of abuse scandals involving U.S. foster parents and adopted Russian children, including an incident in which a foster mother abandoned her 7-year-old son, sending him alone on a plane back to Russia.

In response to the abuse cases, the Kemerovo region on Thursday became the first federal subject to ban adoptions by U.S. foster parents, a move that senior Duma Deputy Yelena Mizulina condemned as "unconstitutional." (Related article: Duma Deputy Denounces Ban on U.S. Adoptions)

The United States has historically adopted more Russian foster children than any other country. Last year, 956 Russian orphans were adopted by U.S. foster families, according to government statistics.

It was unclear how many of the 140 Kemerovo orphans sent abroad were adopted by Americans.

After ratification by the Duma, the treaty must be approved by the Federation Council and signed by President Vladimir Putin. It does not require approval by the U.S. Congress.

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