Will Stewart and Suzannah Hills, Daily Mail (London), February 13, 2012
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin was mocked by his own countrymen today after urging Russians to start having more sex to put a stop to the country’s declining population.
In one of his more controversial presidential election campaign pledges, Putin vowed to give cash incentives to mothers who have a third child, to help encourage more births.
Russia is the largest geographical country in the world but its 142 million population is smaller than both Pakistan and Bangladesh.
Putin, who served two consecutive presidential terms between 2000 and 2008 followed by his current term as prime minister, warned that the current steady population decline could see 50 million fewer Russians by 2050 to just 107million people.
The Russian Prime Minister, who is now seeking his third presidential term in the March election, declared: ‘We are facing the risk of turning into an ‘empty space’ whose fate will not be decided by us.’
‘The historic price of the choice between action and inaction is nearly 50 million human lives over the next 40 years.’
Since Putin first came to power in 2000 the population has decreased by 2.5 million Russians so the Prime Minister has made increasing the country’s birth rate through Government incentives one of his key election pledges.
He vowed to offer more free kindergarten places, cheaper housing, and a £140 a month benefit bonus to mothers who have a third child, in a bid to boost the population size to 154million people.
But critics claim his policies have failed to make families feel confident about the future with the country still facing lower life expectancy rates than other developed countries.
His latest plans also propose action to stop chronic alcohol and drug abuse, in addition to easing immigration curbs, which he had only just tightened.
Anatoly Vishnevsky, director of the Moscow-based Demography Institute, said: ‘These measures are not enough.
‘It’s impossible to imagine how you could boost the population except through massive immigration.’
And his edict to go forth and multiply was also immediately ridiculed by his countrymen on internet forums and websites.
One woman, Inna, said: ‘So, now we have to make love non-stop? In the USSR they said there was no sex in the country. In the Russian Federation it’s have sex then take the money.’
Another wrote sarcastically: ‘Putin is like a God. He will restore the birthrate and save Russia. Oh Prometheus!’
A third added: ‘If a woman doesn’t want to give birth, nothing will change it, no matter where he puts his money.’