Putin echoes Erdoğan’s call for three children

Putin echoes Erdoğan’s call for three children

MOSCOW - Agence France- Presse
Putin echoes Erdoğan’s call for three children

EPA Photo

President Vladimir Putin today called on Russian families to have a third child to reverse its long-term demographic decline.

Putin said in his first annual state-of-the-nation address since he returned to the Kremlin for a third term that Russia was making progress in combating its demographic decline after the collapse of the USSR and that it should be the “norm” for Russian families to have three children, Agence France-Presse reported.

In a speech also aimed at reasserting Russia’s post-Soviet power and prosperity, Putin said the country has managed to overcome a major demographic crisis and the birth rate is growing thanks to demographic programs adopted by the government in recent years, adding that these efforts should continue, according to Russia Today.

A decision by a family to have a second child is a potential step toward having a third one, Putin cited demographers as saying. “It’s important that a family should take that step,” he said. “I still believe that a family with three children should become a standard for Russia. If a nation is unable to preserve and reproduce itself, if it loses its life guidelines and ideals, there’s no need even for an external enemy. Everything will fall apart.”

Similarly, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan often advises Turkish people to have at least three children. In his most recent statements on the issue, Erdoğan told his Finnish counterpart Jyrki Katainen that his country’s couples should have at least three children.

Putin also denounced opponents who receive financial assistance from abroad and vowed that Russia would not allow democracy to be imposed from the outside. “Direct or indirect outside interference in our internal political processes is unacceptable,” Putin said in his Kremlin speech.

 “People who receive money from abroad for their political activities – most likely serving foreign national interests – cannot be politicians in the Russian Federation.” Putin also said Parliament should introduce legislation to “limit the rights” of officials and politicians to have foreign bank accounts and shares. Putin’s annual speech to the Federal Assembly of both houses of Parliament came one year after disputed parliamentary elections sparked the first mass street protests against his domination of Russia. The Russian opposition is planning a new anti-Putin mass rally on Dec. 15, which will be a crucial test of whether there is still life in the protest movement one year on.