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Russian President Vladimir Putin: "And to expand, you need at least three children"

Photo: Sergey Ilyin / AFP

Russian families should produce at least two children to ensure the country's ethnic survival, says President Vladimir Putin. "If we want to survive as an ethnic group - or as ethnic groups living in Russia - there must be at least two children," Putin told workers at a tank factory in the Ural region. If every family had only one child, the population would shrink. »And in order to expand and develop, you need at least three children.«

The exact Russian losses in the war of aggression against Ukraine are not known, but experts consider them to be comparatively high. Hundreds of thousands of Russian citizens have also left the country since the war began around two years ago. The state statistics office estimated the population at the beginning of 2023 at 146.4 million people. This is a decline of nearly 149 million people from 20 years ago, but an increase from the low of about 143 million from 2007 to 2012.

Putin describes himself as a defender of "traditional values" that are based on family, nation and the Orthodox Christian faith. The president had already called for a higher birth rate in the past. A few weeks ago, in a speech, he urged Russian women to have up to eight children. The country needs to return to a time when large families were the norm.

Women who want to end an unwanted pregnancy in Russia have to overcome increasingly difficult obstacles. The Russian Orthodox Church is seeking to ban abortions in private clinics and “incitement” to terminate a pregnancy nationwide. If pregnant women go to state hospitals, they have to undergo counseling that follows the guidelines of the Russian Ministry of Health and usually advises against abortion.