* Bill aims to retaliate against U.S. Magnitsky Act
* Putin hints he will sign the bill into law
* Legislation will also outlaw U.S.-funded political NGOs
* Measure likely to damage relations with Washington
MOSCOW, Dec 21 Russia's lower house of
parliament approved a law banning Americans from adopting
Russian children on Friday, retaliating against U.S. moves to
punish Russian officials linked to the death of an
The bill approved by the State Duma will also outlaw
U.S.-funded lobby and campaign groups involved in political
activity, increasing pressure on civil rights groups critical of
President Vladimir Putin.
Mirroring U.S. legislation known as the Magnitsky Act, named
after lawyer Sergei Magnitsky who died in a Russian jail in
2009, the law imposes a visa ban and asset freeze on U.S.
citizens accused of violating the rights of Russians abroad.
Putin hinted at a news conference on Thursday that he would
sign it into law once the Senate votes on it next week.
The spat is overshadowing efforts to improve relations with
U.S. President Barack Obama's administration.
Signalling Moscow is worried about long-term damage to trade
and diplomatic ties, Russia's veteran Foreign Minister Sergei
Lavrov has spoken out against the ban on U.S. adoptions - a rare
break from the Kremlin's official line.
In Russia, the move has outraged Russian liberals who say
orphans are being made victims of politics. Some officials in
Putin's United Russia party, including the country's education
minister, have expressed concern.
The provision targeting non-governmental organisations, or
NGOs, has also upset international human rights groups who
accuse Putin of clamping down on civil society and dissent in
his new six-year term as president which began in May.