Hundreds of thousands of children in Russia are growing up as orphans. Many of them are what are called "social orphans” - meaning they have at least one living parent, but have been relinquished by the latter to the state. Despite these figures, President Vladimir Putin has sharpened the laws governing adoption.
In the past, many Russian orphans were adopted by couples from the US and Western Europea. Now American families are banned from Russian adoptions entirely. President Putin has said that the country can care for its own children. In reality, however, Russian orphanages have a reputation for abysmal conditions. Apart from a few showcase orphanages, the majority of children’s homes are closed to public scrutiny.