Why Putin’s Desperate Push for More Russian Babies Will Fail
I placed parts of the following article in bold-faced type.
Too often, a lot of people, religious conservatives in particular, shame people who cannot or do not marry and have children, whether it’s by circumstance or choice.
Too many religious conservatives, and a lot of progressive secular culture for many years, implied or outright stated if an adult didn’t marry (or have children) that there was something “wrong” with them, they were a loser, not a “true” adult, or were being selfish.
It is just quite irritating and insulting how so many people in many cultures the world over don’t treat adult singleness (or being childless or childfree) with respect.
Complementarian Christians in the United States have often tried to sell a “fairy tale” view off marriage, that if you just trust God, God will send you a great soul mate, and you will find nothing but happiness as a result.
(Those same Christians, though, will tell Christian women married to abusive Christian husbands that they cannot divorce their abuser!)
Christians also set up unrealistic expectations for sex in marriage. At least while I was growing up, and into the 1990s, a lot of Christians sold this bogus view that if you just hung on to your virginity that God would not only send you a great spouse, but you’d have regular and fantastic sex.
But witness those of us who remained sexually abstinent and yet still remain single, or those who married but ended up in sexually unsatisfying marriages.
I’m not opposed to Christians advocating for a traditional, Christian sexual ethos, but they need to stop making grand, sweeping claims and promises claiming that you will have a rosy (marital) future if you just remain chaste – because often, those promises do not come to pass.
I am not Russian, but if gender roles and gender expectations in Russia are anything like I’ve grown up with in the United States, it sounds like (based on a quote by a Russian woman I’ve included below) as though Russian culture – like American culture, especially Christian complementarians – expect women to place every one and every thing as a priority over what they, the women, want.
I am so tired of cultures the world over expecting that women defer to men generally, to what governments want, etc.
Mon, September 6, 2021
Russia is facing a dire demographic crisis, and it doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon.
The country’s dramatic natural population decline in the past six months—more than double the rate from the same time period last year—is so severe that it prompted President Vladimir Putin to come out with a rallying cry in support of larger families last week. “A strong family bringing up two, three, or four children,” he said, “should be the image of a future Russia.”
Realizing this goal will be a Herculean task, for many reasons. No matter how conservative the country is made out to be on state television, the States Statistic Service reports that as of 2020 73 percent of Russian marriages ended in divorce, with 48 percent divorcing before having children.
But mainly the new national goal set out by Putin is hard to achieve because a significant number of Russian women—51 percent—simply don’t want to give birth.
Domestic troubles in her immediate family made Anna Davydova, an employee of the ministry of culture, change her mind about the future of her own family.
“My twin sister was a victim of domestic violence, her husband kicked her out of the house to the street together with their two children,” 42-year-old Davydova told The Daily Beast. Davydova’s sister’s experience is all too common in Russia:
Domestic violence, which was already rampant in many Russian homes, skyrocketed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Two out of three murdered women in Russia are slain by family members, Novaya Gazeta newspaper reported last month.
Thanks to state aid and the family’s modest income, the two sisters were able to provide for their little children in the town of Nizhny Novgorod, where the average monthly salary is around $400.
The sisters spend around $800 on the children’s expenses every month. “What happened to my sister left a big impression on me; I made a decision not to get married, nor to have children of my own… I look around and realized that most of my friends are already divorced, at least I have saved myself from that stress.”
Nizhny Novgorod’s declining population is one of the worst in Russia, with up to 15,000 more deaths than births a year. …More than a half of deaths in Russia are caused by heart attacks, hypertension and strokes. One out of three Russian men do not live to turn 60. …
“We have ambitious women and lame, spoilt men, so women often complain about a lack of men around them. Some claim they are child-free, some even express hate for children,” an expert at the Institute of Demography, Yuriy Krupnov, told The Daily Beast. “If the birth rate remains 1.5 children per family, like it is now, our population might decrease to 70 million by the end of this century–this is just pure math.”
Young couples often cite small apartments and measly salaries as their reason for not wanting children. In an effort to slow down the crises, Russian authorities are doing everything they can to stop the population decline and inspire fertile couples to have babies: those committed to the second child get about $6,000 of so-called “mothers’ capital.”
The current demographic black hole started with the devastating wars of the 1990s, but now—three decades since modern Russia became independent after the fall of the USSR—other social, cultural, and economic crises across the nation seem to be compounding the crisis. Lena Poshenko, the administrator at nasiliu.net (No To Violence) center in Moscow, says she receives calls from up to 100 women who are victims of physical and domestic violence every month.
As for 32-year-old Poshenko, her own reason for not wanting to have more than one child is rather straightforward: She’d like to focus on her career.
“My husband would like to have more children but I definitely don’t want to be dependent on him financially and lose my professional activity… I just see no point,” Poshenko told The Daily Beast. “It is strange that authorities expect women to have two or three children, to exchange their own personal development for the state’s national goals.”