Putin is offering cash bonuses to Russian mothers if they have 10 children
Russian President Vladimir Putin has offered Russian mothers an extraordinary cash bonus if they have 10 or more children, reviving a Soviet-era incentive as the nation of 145 million people plans for the future.
The honorary award mother heroine – which also offers social benefits – was first introduced by the communist dictator Joseph Stalin in the Soviet Union. According to Russian media, the first award was presented to about 400,000 citizens.
Putin’s issuance of the award offers citizens a one-time payment of 1 million rubles ($16,667) after their 10th child turns 10.
Mothers are only eligible for the substantial bonus – which is more than the average Russian annual salary of around 750,000 rubles – if all other nine children have survived.
Kristin Roth-Ey, an expert in Slavic and East European Studies, said the “honor” was Putin’s attempt to empower the populace and encourage a certain type of nationalism among the populace, which for months now have been forced to resist the economic impact of his fighting war with Ukraine.
“It was about serving the motherland,” she said of the Washington Post. “(It is) obviously a conscious echo of the Stalinist past.”
Roth-Ey said Stalin’s prize was conceived as the Soviet Union, after the deaths of untold millions of working-age men in World War II, attempted to “plan post-war reconstruction” and to support families as “the core institution of Soviet society.”
Putin on Tuesday accused Washington of prolonging the conflict in Ukraine and fueling conflicts elsewhere in the world, including the visit of US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taiwan.
“The situation in Ukraine shows that the US is trying to prolong this conflict. And they act in exactly the same way, fueling the potential for conflict in Asia, Africa and Latin America,” Putin said via video link in a televised address at the opening ceremony of a security conference in Moscow.
“The American adventure over Taiwan is not just a journey by a single irresponsible politician, but part of a purposeful, conscious US strategy to destabilize and chaotic the situation in the region and the world,” he added.
He said the visit was a “brazen demonstration of disregard for other countries’ sovereignty and their (Washington’s) international obligations.”
“We see this as a carefully planned provocation,” Putin said.
Relations between Moscow and Washington have been shattered since Russia launched a military intervention in pro-western Ukraine in late February.
Wracked by a spate of unprecedented Western sanctions, Putin has sought to strengthen ties with countries in Africa and Asia, particularly China.
During Pelosi’s visit to self-governing, democratic Taiwan, which China considers its territory, Moscow showed full solidarity with key ally Beijing.
Earlier this week, a leaked document suggested that a senior Kremlin official had turned to the West to end Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as the conflict in the region enters its sixth month.
“A representative of Putin’s inner circle has signaled to the West that he wants to negotiate. The mood of the Kremlin elite is panic,” reads the document, which was made available to journalists in Europe.
The document, reportedly sent to Western intelligence officials, partially identified the unnamed Kremlin insider as “one of the pillars of the regime.”
They reportedly got in touch through either a Western diplomat or a CIA official.
Insiders close to Putin are reportedly growing concerned about Russia’s economy amid crippling sanctions imposed by the West.
There are also major concerns about the evolving situation at the Zaporizhzhia power plant, which analysts and government officials have repeatedly warned will escalate into a “nuclear disaster” if conflict continues near its reactors.
“There is an urgent need to allow inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency and ensure the withdrawal of all Russian forces,” NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said on Wednesday.
Russian military control over the facility “endangers the population of Ukraine, neighboring countries and the international community,” Stoltenberg added.
“Russian troops … are now using the ground around the nuclear power plant as a staging area, as a platform to launch artillery strikes on Ukrainian forces, and it’s reckless, it’s irresponsible,” Stoltenberg said in separate press conferences with the presidents of Serbia and Serbia on Wednesday Kosovo.
Russian troops captured the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine in March shortly after the invasion.
The facility is the largest in Europe, and the uncertainty surrounding it during the war has fueled fears of a nuclear accident to rival that of Chernobyl in 1986, when a reactor exploded.