Mother Russia wants grandchildren, and lots of them. Post-Soviet Russia is currently one of the most populous countries in the world, but experts think that might not last for long. According to the Population Reference Bureau, Russia's population will decline by 32.3 million people by the year 2050. To combat the trend, Russian officials and organizations are implementing a series of nationalist policies to rekindle people's sex lives and the country's population growth.
The Kremlin-sponsored youth group Nashi ('Ours') is leading the charge toward a more populous future by encouraging young people to have sex for the good of the country. At Nashi's annual camp this summer, Britain's Daily Mail reports, 'sex is encouraged, and condoms are nowhere on sale.' Nashi camp organizers use the cautionary tale of the mammoths to encourage the youngsters: 'They became extinct because they did not have enough sex,' say the organizers. 'That must not happen to Russia.'
In the Russian region of Ulyanovsk, promoting sex has become official policy. On September 12, the BBC News reports, local Governor Sergey Morozov encouraged couples to take the day off from work to enjoy the recently christened 'family contact day.' Not coincidentally, the holiday lands exactly nine months before Russia's national day on June 12. According to the BBC, families who give birth on Russia's national day 'will receive cars, TVs, or other prizes.'
Governor Morozov, interviewed in Russia Today, lauds his own innovative efforts, dubbed 'Give birth to a patriot of Russia on the national day of Russia.' Under the regional program, new mothers are given impressive state assistance, including grants and yearlong maternity leave. When asked if he thinks the program is working, Morozov responded, 'Yes, of course, I am quite satisfied.'
Read more about the intricacies of sex in Labor of Love from the Utne Reader archives.