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Saturday, December 23, 2006

Oh, You Glorious Russian Mothers!

Medals for giving birth? How neo-Soviet can Russia get (see left for a picture of the medal the USSR used to award to patriotic child bearers)? How neo-Soviet is there? Kommersant reports:

Mothers to Get Decorated

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday, discussing chaired a session of the Council of Legislators on demographic issues.

The session upheld an idea to encourage families to have more children not only by material benefits but also by moral incentives, such as awarding women with medals and orders for giving birth to a few children.

Russia's leader said he was concerned about the country’s rapidly ageing population and the problem of alcoholism, which are responsible for some alarming demographic trends. Putin cited statistics:

“In the past 13 years, the death rate has exceeded the birth rate by 11.2 million,” he said. “People under 65 make up 13.7 percent of the population at the moment, which means our rate is twice as high as the international standard for an aged society.”

Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev promised that the government would submit the concept for Russia’s demographic development before the end of the year and draw up a program until 2025 by next spring.

Sergey Mironov, speaker of the Federation Council, suggested restoring the Soviet tradition of decorating mothers of several children with medals and orders. Speaker of the Lipetsk regional legislature went on to propose introducing decorations for fathers of several children. Vladimir Putin upheld Mironov’s idea but said medals would be given to mothers only.

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