Russian President Vladimir Putin is reportedly offering money to women to have 10 or more children to restore the country’s demographic crisis that emerged due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war. The initiative which includes a one-payment of GBP 13,500 to give birth to, and keep alive, 10 children, is being described as a desperate attempt by experts.
Dr Jenny Mathers, Russian politics and security expert, spoke to broadcaster Henry Bonsu on Times Radio about the new Russian reward scheme, known as Mother Heroine, that Putin has announced as a measure to replenish a dwindling population.
The development comes after Russia reported its highest number of daily coronavirus cases since March this year, while estimates of how many soldiers have died in Ukraine are nearing 50,000.
Dr Mathers said Putin has been saying that people who have large families are more patriotic.
Bonsu said, “A Soviet-era award for women who have ten or more children, it is called the Mother Heroine. It’s an attempt to restore Russia’s demographic crisis that has been deepened by the war in Ukraine.”
“According to the order, women will get a one-off payment of 1 million roubles, about £13,500, after their tenth child reaches its first birthday on the condition that the other nine are all still alive. This sounds desperate. Is it?” he asked.
Dr Mathers said, “It is, actually. It is pretty desperate. I mean, Russia has had difficulties with demographics, trying to get enough people to populate the country really since the 1990s off and on."
He said in addition to the war in Ukraine, the COVID-19 pandemic had really set Russia’s demographics back significantly.
“So, this is obviously an attempt to encourage Russian women, or inspire them, to have more babies and to have really big families," he said.