MOSCOW: A 14-year-old Russian orphan with a debilitating genetic disease has reportedly asked President Vladimir Putin for the right to live with his prospective adoptive family in the United States.
But the Kremlin immediately called the reports false and a provocation aimed at discrediting Russia’s international reputation and embarrassing Putin.
The letter from a boy named Maxim in the hardscrabble, industrial Urals city of Chelyabinsk came two weeks after Putin signed into law a bill banning all US adoptions.
Chelyabinsk media said the boy had been in touch with the US family — the Wallens — from the state of Virgina for seven years and that his case was already under court review when Putin signed the ban into law on December 28.
“I would be very grateful if you come out in favour of children,” the website of local Chelyabinsk television quoted Maxim’s letter as saying yesterday. “Do not deprive children of their right to obtain a family,” the boy reportedly wrote.
The media did not identify the disease from which Maxim was suffering, but several reports said treatment was easily accessible in the United States.
The Kremlin’s local children’s rights representative said the chances of Putin changing his mind at this were “very low”. She described the Wallens as caring and attentive — two qualities missing from Maxim’s children’s home. “There is a chance to treat Maxim in America and the Wallens are willing to pay,” she said. “He could get a good education in that family.”
National media released interviews with the director of Maxim’s children’s home denying that the teenager was either sick or had ever written such a letter.
“He has no genetic disease,” the director of Children’s Home No. 13, Denis Matsko, told Business FM radio. “He has certain health problems — just like we all do.”