Dima Yakovlev Law
Standard of the President of Russia
Parliament of Russia
  • On Sanctions for Individuals Violating Fundamental Human Rights and Freedoms of the Citizens of the Russian Federation
Territorial extentRussian Federation
Considered byParliament of Russia
Signed28 December 2012
Signed byPresident of Russia
Effective1 January 2013
Legislative history
Bill published on29 December 2012
Status: In force

The Dima Yakovlev Law (Russian: Закон Димы Яковлева),[1] Dima Yakovlev Bill, Dima Yakovlev Act,[2] anti-Magnitsky law,[3] or Federal law of Russian Federation no. 272-FZ of 2012-12-28 "On Sanctions for Individuals Violating Fundamental Human Rights and Freedoms of the Citizens of the Russian Federation"[4] is a law in Russia that defines sanctions against U.S. citizens involved in "violations of the human rights and freedoms of Russian citizens". It creates a list of citizens who are banned from entering Russia, and also allows the government to freeze their assets and investments. The law suspends the activity of politically active non-profit organisations which receive money from American citizens or organisations.[4] It also bans citizens of the United States from adopting children from Russia.[5] The law was signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin on 28 December 2012 and took effect on 1 January 2013.[citation needed] The law is informally named after a Russian orphan adopted by a family from Purcellville, Virginia, who died of heat stroke after being left in a parked car for nine hours.[1] The law is described as a response to the Magnitsky Act in the United States, which places sanctions on Russian officials who were involved in a tax scandal exposed by Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky against Russian officials; Magnitsky was later found to have been handcuffed and tortured while in jail.[1][6]

Voting for the law in Russian Parliament

The bill was proposed by United Russia deputy Ekaterina Lakhova. The bill passed the State Duma on 21 December 2012 and the Federation Council on 27 December 2012.[7][8]

In the Duma, the bill's first reading saw one vote against (Ilya Ponomarev). The second reading received four votes against (Ilya Ponomarev, Dmitry Gudkov, Valery Zubov, Sergei Petrov - all from the A Just Russia faction), while the third and final reading was opposed by eight members (the previous four plus Andrei Ozerov from A Just Russia, Oleg Smolin and Zhores Alferov from the Communist Party of Russia, Boris Reznik from United Russia).[9][10]

The United States Department of State said in a press release that it "deeply regrets Russia's passage of a law ending inter-country adoptions between the United States and Russia".[11] United States Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul said that the law will "link the fate of orphaned children to unrelated political issues."[12]


In the State Duma, the law was informally named after Dima Yakovlev (born Dmitry Yakovlev), a Russian toddler who was adopted by Miles Harrison of Virginia. The child was renamed Chase Harrison while in America.[13] In July 2008, less than three months after he arrived in America, Dima died while he was strapped into his adoptive father's car. He had been left alone for nine hours in the car after his father forgot to take him to daycare service.[14]

Following trial, Harrison was acquitted of involuntary manslaughter by a Circuit Court judge in Fairfax County, Virginia, in January 2009. The case became national news in Russia, highlighting abuse cases involving Russian children adopted by American parents. Following the child's death, Russian federal prosecutors opened an investigation into the circumstances of the incident, while Russian authorities called for restriction or ending of the adoption of Russian children by Americans.[15]

On 28 December 2012, Governor of Pskov Oblast Andrei Turchak suspended two officials pending an investigation into their roles in the adoption of Dima Yakovlev.[16]


Russian human rights ombudsman Vladimir Lukin said that the law will be contested in Russian constitutional courts.[17]


The Russian Orthodox Church supports the law. Church spokesman Vsevolod Chaplin said that the orphans adopted by American citizens "won't get a truly Christian upbringing and that means falling away from the Church and from the path to eternal life, in God's kingdom".[18] According to the independent Moscow Times, the ban has grown increasingly popular among the Russian public.[19]



The U.S. media outlets The Christian Science Monitor,[20] Fox News,[21] The Daily Beast,[22] Time,[23] and a local Houston, Texas, media affiliate[24] criticised the move. The British newspaper The Guardian commented on the law that it is "not about children's rights" and "ruins lives and leaves both countries looking sordid."[25] Due to the law being signed on December 28, the day many Christians mark as the Massacre of the Innocents, the law has been referred to by the Economist as "Herod's law" and "cannibalistic".[26]

Amnesty International called the law "in no one's best interest" and have called for Russian parliamentarians to reject the law.[27] Human Rights Watch Europe and Central Asia director Hugh Williamson said that the law "could deprive them (Russian orphans) of the loving families they desperately need."[28]


On 14 January 2013, about 20,000 people marched against the law in Moscow.[29] Russian Chief Rabbi Berel Lazar said that "Russian orphans should not become the hostages of politics."[30]


Further information: Orphans in Russia

From 1991 to 2010, over 50,000 Russian orphans had been adopted in the United States; however, according to Time magazine, U.S. adoptions of Russian children had already fallen by two-thirds from 2004 to 2009.[31] At the time of the 2012 ban, over one thousand prospective adoptions were in progress.[32] Among these prospective adoptions were about 200 Russian orphans who had already been told they were to be adopted.[33] In January 2017, the European Court of Human Rights levied a fine on Russia, stating that the ban unlawfully discriminates on the basis of nationality.[19]


  1. ^ a b c Englund, Will (11 December 2012). "Russians say they'll name their Magnitsky-retaliation law after baby who died in a hot car in Va". The Washington Post. Retrieved 28 December 2012.
  2. ^ Ecott, Tim (27 December 2012). "Putin signs Dima Yakovlev Bill". Voice of Russia. Archived from the original on 31 December 2012. Retrieved 28 December 2012.
  3. ^ "Putin signs "anti-Magnitsky law" - Interfax". www.interfax.com. Retrieved 2019-08-23.
  4. ^ a b A law on sanctions for individuals violating fundamental human rights and freedoms of Russian citizens has been signed Archived 2013-01-02 at the Wayback Machine // Kremlin.ru, 28 December 2012.
  5. ^ CNN Wire Staff (28 December 2012). "Russia's Putin signs anti-U.S. adoption bill". CNN. Retrieved 28 December 2012.
  6. ^ "Magnitsky case: Putin signs Russian ban on US adoptions". BBC. 28 December 2012. Retrieved 28 December 2012.
  7. ^ "Russian State Duma Passes Anti-US Adoption Bill". RIA Novosti. 21 December 2012. Retrieved 28 December 2012.
  8. ^ Burghardt, David (26 December 2012). "Russian parliament passes anti-US adoption law". The Moscow News. Archived from the original on 15 January 2013. Retrieved 28 December 2012.
  9. ^ "Who voted against Dima Yakovlev law". Forbes.
  10. ^ Ponomarev, Ilya. "List of votes on Dima Yakovlev law". LiveJournal.
  11. ^ Ventrell, Patrick (28 December 2012). "Statement on Russia's Yakovlev Act". United States Department of State. Retrieved 28 December 2012.
  12. ^ "Putin signs bill banning Americans from adopting Russian children". Fox News. 28 December 2012. Retrieved 28 December 2012.
  13. ^ Jackman, Tom (17 December 2008). "On Stand, Man Tells Of Son's Death in Car". Washingtonpost.com. Retrieved 2012-12-29.
  14. ^ Turner, Lauren (5 September 2019). "Hot car death dad says new safety rules not enough". BBC News, Washington DC. Retrieved 20 February 2021.
  15. ^ Ellen Barry (3 January 2009). "Russian Furor Over U.S. Adoptions Follows American's Acquittal in Boy's Death". The New York Times. Retrieved 25 January 2013.
  16. ^ "Russian Local Officials Suspended over Dima Yakovlev Case | Russia | RIA Novosti". En.rian.ru. Archived from the original on 2013-01-01. Retrieved 2012-12-29.
  17. ^ "Dima Yakovlev law will be contested in Constitutional Court". Interfax.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-12-29.
  18. ^ Elder, Miriam (29 December 2012). "Church backs Vladimir Putin's ban on Americans adopting Russian children". The Observer. London. Retrieved 30 December 2012.
  19. ^ a b "Bargaining Chips: Why Russian Orphans Might Become Political Pawns Once Again". The Moscow Times. 2017. Retrieved 27 April 2018.
  20. ^ Mark Nuckols (2012-12-19). "Putin shows Russian insecurity in signing ban on US adoption of orphans". CSMonitor.com. Retrieved 2012-12-29.
  21. ^ "Russian adoption ban set to devastate US families, orphans". Video.foxnews.com. 2006-10-01. Retrieved 2012-12-29.
  22. ^ Pesta, Abigail (2012-12-28). "With U.S. Adoption Ban, a Mother Fears for Russia's Abandoned Kids". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 2012-12-29.
  23. ^ Sifferlin, Alexandra (28 December 2012). "Russia's Ban on U.S. Adoption Leaves American Families in Anguish". Healthland.time.com. Retrieved 2012-12-29.
  24. ^ "Houston families devastated by adoption ban". Khou.com. Archived from the original on 2013-01-01. Retrieved 2012-12-29.
  25. ^ Laurie Penny (28 December 2012). "Russia's ban on US adoption isn't about children's rights". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 2012-12-29.
  26. ^ "Herod's law". The Economist. 2013-01-05. ISSN 0013-0613. Retrieved 2019-08-23.
  27. ^ "Russia: 'Dima Yakovlev' Bill in no one's best interests". Amnesty.org. Retrieved 2012-12-29.
  28. ^ "Russia: Reject Adoption Ban Bill". Human Rights Watch. 28 December 2012. Retrieved 30 December 2012.
  29. ^ "Russians march against adoption ban". 3 News NZ. 14 January 2013. Archived from the original on 11 March 2013. Retrieved 13 January 2013.
  30. ^ "Interfax-Religion". Interfax-Religion. Retrieved 2012-12-29.
  31. ^ "How Russian Adoptions Became a Controversial Topic". Time magazine. 2017. Retrieved 27 April 2018.
  32. ^ "Russian lawmaker says Moscow may lift adoption ban". USA TODAY. 2012. Retrieved 27 April 2018.
  33. ^ "10 Laws Russia Needs To Scrap". RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty. 2015. Retrieved 27 April 2018.