Syria, Adoptions and Navalny

June 18, 2013
Assad and Putin/AP/RIA Novosti, Mikhail Klimentyev, Presidential Press service

Here’s a quick summary of some of today’s biggest news headlines:

-It seems that the continued haggling over the conditions for a peace summit have become one of Russia’s best tools to support the Assad regime. Reuters reports that Russian Foreign minister Sergei Lavrov is quoted as saying: “We categorically oppose … affirmations that the conference should become a kind of public act of capitulation by the government delegation, with the subsequent handover of power in Syria to the opposition.”

-Apparently US citizens are not the only people not allowed to adopt Russian children; the Duma has just passed a law forbidding the adoption of Russian children by same sex couples. At this rate, soon the only people allowed to adopt Russian children will be Russians themselves. RIA Novosti reports: “Russian lawmakers have unanimously approved amendments banning the adoption of Russian children by foreign couples in same-sex relationships, in a second reading vote on a broader bill.”

Putin and Russia are becoming increasingly isolated in their support for the Assad regime. Putin’s exclusion of any mention of Assad from the final G8 communique was a further example of his increasing isolation on the issue and to a growing international consensus over Syria. Reuters reports: “Russian President Vladimir Putin clashed with other world leaders over the civil war in Syria at a tense G8 summit, blocking any mention of the fate of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad from a final communique to be issued on Tuesday.”

-The trial of Alexei Navalny is becoming increasingly acrimonious as Navalny ridicules the charges against him and puts evidence up on his website to publicize his defense. The Moscow Times reports: “Navalny alleged on his Livejournal blog Monday that all 35 prosecution witnesses had testified in his favor, saying that video records of their testimony posted on his blog proved it.”