A Quick Russian Translation
This is likely obvious to anyone who is even passingly familiar with the situation, but this piece is worth a read for a detailed discussion. It also should take away any thought that a discussion about adoption policy is as innocent or low-wattage as it might sound.
It might not seem obvious what sanctions have to do with American parents’ adoptions of Russian children, which is the topic that the younger Mr. Trump initially said Ms. Veselnitskaya wanted to discuss. Their connection comes down to one word: leverage.
The context is the Magnitsky Act, a 2012 American law that freezes the assets held in the United States by Russian officials responsible for human rights abuses. The law also bars these officials from receiving American visas. It was named after Sergei Magnitsky, a young Russian lawyer who died in pretrial detention after exposing a $230 million tax-theft scam perpetrated by Russian officials.
To the law’s backers, the Magnitsky Act was a way to strike a blow for justice. But to Mr. Putin, it seemed like an intolerable attack by the United States government against the stability of his own presidency.
Revoking the law became an important foreign policy priority for Mr. Putin’s government. And he identified adoptions as an area that seemed to offer a way to force the issue.