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“Import Indian bridegrooms for Russian brides”

Vladimir Radyuhin

New Russian magic mantra to reverse alarming fall in the country’s birth rate

MOSCOW: Desperate to reverse a steep decline in their numbers, Russians are coming up with some bold ideas on how to overcome Russia’s demographic crisis.

A Russian feminist has proposed a radical solution to the falling birth rate — importing Indian bridegrooms for Russian girls. Maria Arbatova, writer and TV moderator, who married an Indian businessman a few years ago “after 25 years of keeping marrying Russians”, thinks Indian men make ideal husbands.

“They are crazy about their family and children,” she said presenting her new book, ‘Tasting India’, here. “What is more, Indians, like Russians, are Indo-Europeans, and many Sanskrit and Russian words have the same roots.”

Indian bridegrooms can help ward off a Chinese demographic invasion in Russia, says the feminist: “If we do not balance off the Chinese with Indians, Africans or aliens, by 2050 China will annex Russia’s Siberia up to the Ural Mountains.”

Russia has a population of 142 million spread across a territory five times the size of India. Its population is shrinking at one-third of a million a year. Under a federal programme launched this year, women who give birth to a second or subsequent child are given certificates worth $10,000, which can be used for education, mortgage or pensions. Monthly support payments to young mothers have been raised from $28 to $60. Afraid that the Government measures are not enough, the Governor of Ulyanovsk has suggested his own way of getting Russian couples to have more babies.

This Wednesday, Ulyanovsk residents will enjoy an extra day off work that the Governor decreed to give them more time to produce babies. The holiday, officially called “Family Contact Day”, was quickly renamed by locals as “Day of Conception”. That day the people will be invited to join a festival, “I Love You”, while teams of gynaecologists, midwives and psychologists will fan out to all parts of the region to advise women on having babies.

September 12 has been chosen for the new holiday so that babies conceived that day may be born on June 12, Russia’s National Day. Couples who hit the target date win prizes, including refrigerators, TV sets and washing machines. The main prize is an Ulyanovsk-built all-terrain vehicle called Patriot.

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