Monday, May 22, 2006
"It might be that this notion of children as a burden, as an unnecessary bother, is the psychological reason for the catastrophic decline in Russian birth rates (the average woman has 1.34 children, and for every 16 Russians who died in 2004, only 10.4 babies were born). It's hard enough to get by — let's leave children for the future. Imagine a large city, population 700,000. Every year, Russia loses every person in that city. While 35,000 people are killed in automobile accidents each year, even more die from drugs, alcohol and the consequences of an unhealthy lifestyle. Death triumphs over birth in a country that the state-owned news media grandly calls an energy superpower.
The state, at last, has taken note. In something of a bantering tone, which has become his style of late, President Vladimir Putin declared that the primary concern of the state is now love and motherhood. He proposed to resolve the love question capitalistically; to use financial incentives to raise the birthrate. Thus a woman who decides to have a second child will get about $10,000. And the president underpinned his concern for motherhood with a military concept, arguing that a dwindling population would leave the country unprotected." By Viktor Erofeyev, N.Y. Times Link to Article (last visited 5-21-06 NVS)