Cultural Revolutions

The Day of Conception

In Russia’s Ulyanovsk region, the birthplace of Lenin, the regional government has declared September 12 the “Day of Conception,” throwing in a promise of time off work for couples striving to make that day a success.  Such programs have been instituted more frequently since Russian President Vladimir Putin made boosting the country’s birthrate part of his grand design of “national projects.”  Indeed, Putin has called the country’s demographic collapse the most acute problem facing the nation and has announced a federal program aimed at increasing incentives for families to have more than one child.  Under the federal program, women who give birth to two or more children are eligible for certificates valued at 250,000 rubles (about $10,000).  These certificates can be used to pay for a child’s education or for improving the family’s housing and living conditions.  The Russian government also raised child-support payments this year from 700 to 1,500 rubles (about $60) per month.

The combined problem of declining birthrates and horrific mortality rates has alarmed Russians for years.  This trend started under communism, then accelerated following the collapse of the Soviet Union and, with it, Russia’s economy and Soviet-era social-support system.  Russia is now facing the prospect of her population falling below 100 million by 2050. ...

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