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Russian teen ‘flees US adopters back to grandmother’

A Russian-born youth has run away from his adoptive parents in the United States and returned to his grandmother in provincial Russia, state television said Tuesday, adding fuel to a furious row with Washington over adoption.

State television made huge play of the story on its main bulletins, after the Russian parliament in December passed a controversial bill banning adoptions by US parents.

Alexander Abnosov, 18, also known as Joshua Salotti, told state broadcasters that a family in Pennsylvania adopted him at 12 but threw him out at 18 and he lived rough before flying back to Russia and going to live with his grandmother in the provincial town of Cheboksary.

Russia has been outraged by the deaths of some children adopted by US citizens in recent years. Earlier this month, Moscow expressed concern over a high-profile decision by US officials not to prosecute the Texas parents of an adopted Russian boy after his death was deemed accidental.

After the US passed legislation to ban travel and freeze assets of officials implicated in the prison death of a whistleblowing lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky, Russia’s parliament passed the ban on US adoptions.

Channel One said Abnosov had not wanted to be adopted and said “he wants to forget the five years he spent in America as soon as possible”.

Rossiya television added that the teenager “now plans to start a new life, to get a job, finish studying and in spring pass the medical commission to serve in the army.”

National service is compulsory in Russia for men aged over 18.

Abnosov told Channel One he argued with his adoptive family after they refused to take in a friend who had been thrown out of his home.

“They threw me out. Probably they had stopped receiving benefits for me. To save money, they thought up how to do it,” said Abnosov, his long dark hair falling over his eyes, speaking in his grandmother’s neat living room in Cheboksary.

His US passport shown on television showed that he turned 18 last June.

One channel said Abnosov managed to save money to buy an air ticket while living rough, while another said his adoptive father paid $500 for the ticket.

Komsomolskaya Pravda tabloid contacted Abnosov’s adoptive mother, named as Jackie Salotti, who said the family did not throw him out but he had refused to return after running away.

Russian television said that his grandmother had not been allowed to adopt him after his mother died and his father was deprived of parental rights because of alcoholism.