Putin urges women to have as many as 8 Children after so many Russians died in his war with Ukraine

President Vladimir Putin is urging Russians to have more children. "Large families must become the norm," Putin said in a speech Tuesday.

President Vladimir Putin is urging Russians to have more children. “Large families must become the norm,” Putin said in a speech Tuesday.

Russian birthrates are falling amid war in Ukraine and a deepening economic crisis. Russian President Vladimir Putin is urging women to have as many as eight children after so many Russians are dying in his war with Ukraine, worsening the country’s spiraling population crisis.

Addressing the World Russian People’s Council in Moscow Tuesday, Putin said the country must return to a time when large families were the norm. “Many of our grandmothers and great-grandmothers, had seven, eight, or even more children,” said Putin.

“Let us preserve and revive these excellent traditions. Large families must become the norm, a way of life for all of Russia’s people. The family is not just the foundation of the state and society, it is a spiritual phenomenon, a source of morality.”

He continued: “Preserving and increasing the population of Russia is our goal for the coming decades and even generations ahead. This is the future of the Russian world, the millennium-old, eternal Russia.”

Putin’s remarks come amid decades of falling birthrates in Russia that have been made worse by its invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent economic fallout.

The war in Ukraine has led an estimated 900,000 people to flee the country. A further 300,000 people have been enlisted to fight in Ukraine, deepening Russia’s workforce crisis. Around 50,000 Russian men are believed to have died in the war in Ukraine, according to a statistical analysis done by Russian media outlets, Mediazona and Meduza in July.

In October, the UK’s Ministry of Defence reported that Russia has likely suffered up to 290,000 soldiers killed or wounded in the war against Ukraine.

Since coming into power 24 years ago, Putin has been seeking to boost Russia’s birthrate by introducing a range of government incentives for those who have children, including payouts for families who have more than one child.

But the measures have had little to no impact, with figures from Rosstat, Russia’s federal statistics service, putting the Russian population at 146,447,424 as of January 1, less than it was in 1999 when Putin first became president, Le Monde reported.

“Russia lacks workers,” Alexei Raksha, a demographer who previously worked at the Rosstat statistics agency, told AFP in February. “It’s an old problem, but it has gotten worse due to mobilization and mass departures,” he said.

Some Russians claimed that the economic help the government has pledged for large families, such as plots of land, never materialized, RFE/RL reported in 2020. Putin himself is rumored to have six children, though he has never publicly discussed this.

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