Orphans in Russia

By Slava Tsukerman

According to official statistics there were 697,000 orphans in Russia in 2010, more than during WWII. In 1940 the figure was 678,000.


Children in an orphanage.

Two-thirds of the current orphans – are so called “social” orphans, those who have living parents who abandoned them or have been deprived of parental rights by court. From January 1, 2013, after the enactment of the so-called ” law of Dima Yakovlev”, U.S. citizens lost their right to adopt Russian children. The document was so named in honor of the deceased boy, whose adoptive father, an American, who left him for several hours in a locked car under hot sun.

There has been an urgent need to encourage Russian citizens to adopt orphans.  The active promotion of adoption was undertaken by the authorities. But the practice unfortunately demonstrated that many Russian families were completely unprepared to having an adopt child in their home.

Valentina Petrenko, a representative of the Federation Council Committee on Social Policy, reported last month that, in 2012, of the 6,500 children adopted, 4,500 were returned to the orphanages.

Last year there were 75 cases of annulment of adoption in connection with the improper performance of duties of education and care for adopted children, as well as proven facts of abuse of children by adopters.

According to statistics last year, more than 3,600 children in Russia suffered from abuse from biological parents, foster parents and adopters.

When adoption is canceled, the child must return to the biological parents or to an orphanage.

On May 22 an article was published in one of the most popular Russian newspaper “Moskovskiy Komsomolets” entitled “Orphan in Russia has no chance to survive”.

Here are some quotes from the article:

“Where does an orphan lives after leaving the orphanage when he or she turns 16? Often – no where.  In spite of the law requiring the providing of every sixteen years old orphan with an apartment, these are not rare cases, it is a mass phenomenon. Cellar, living  in dug-outs, homelessness or being forced to return to those who abused or rejected them – that’s what awaits them.

“Yesterday inhabitants of an orphanage easily become victims of fraud, which deprives them of their property if they have one. And the state behaves not better then crooks. Last year the state provided housing for only 22,454 former orphans out of 72 300 who are homeless.

“Now only 10-20 percent of orphans are manage to make it, the rest take to drink, become drug addicts, thieves, end up in prison, commit suicide.”

Alexei Sivkov from orphanage in Saratov holds a four days single protest in front of the building of the Russian Government in Moscow.  Sivkov demands they provide him with an apartment, which is due to him by state law. The orphan has repeatedly appealed to the government of Saratov region with no result.

The banner reads: “Do not make bums out of orphans”.

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Updated: May 27, 2014 — 4:50 pm
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