The caring state: how Russia’s new babushkas are filling in the welfare gaps; Expectations of babushki taking care of their grandchildren, shaped by the Soviet history of family and economic policies, are hard to implement in a radically different post-socialist context.

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

(opendemocracy.net – Inna Leykin – September 25, 2017) Inna Leykin is an assistant professor of anthropology at the Department of Sociology, Political Science and Communication at the Open University of Israel. Little Alesha is pushing his stroller down the boulevard. While he practices his new walking skills, Nadia, Alesha’s mom, laments the insufficiency of daycare in the city: “I’ve heard […]

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State Duma speaker deems CoE pressure over family violence decriminalization by Russia to be inadmissible

File Photo of Council of Europe Headquarters Building with Flags in Front

MOSCOW. Jan 18 (Interfax) – State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin deems the pressure of Council of Europe (CoE) Secretary-General Thorbjorn Jagland on Russia in connection with the law decriminalizing family violence to be inadmissible. “This is pressure, and it is inadmissible,” Volodin told the press on Wednesday. The State Duma adopted the amendments in first reading in January, and the […]

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Sex, Suicide and Death Named Russia’s Top Taboos

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 10, 2017) Sex is the biggest taboo among Russian families, with one in three Russians describing the topic as “unpleasant” to discuss with their closest friends and relatives, a report by independent pollster the Levada Center revealed Tuesday. Suicide and death were considered too controversial to discuss by 15 percent and 7 percent of […]

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Russian Families Spend 80% of Income on Essentials

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – moscowtimes.com – December 21, 2016) Families in Russia are spending between 70-80 percent of their household income on essentials, according to a report cited by the RBC newspaper. According to a Center for Economic and Political Reform report, the average Russian family consisting of two working parents and one child spends between 53-143 percent of their income […]

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Helping Russia’s broken women to get back on their feet

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

Dozens of crisis centers operate in Russia to help women caught up in desperate situations and left without help from their families. Some of them have nowhere to live, while others are trying to get away from their alcoholic, wife-beating husbands. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – OLEG SKRIPNIK, SPECIAL TO RBTH – July 14, 2016) There are three […]

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We’re right here; Building a society inclusive of autism in Russia involves battling with myths, superstition and the Soviet legacy. But civil society is forging ahead.

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

(opendemocracy.net – Natalia Antonova – December 2, 2015) Natalia Antonova was born in Kyiv and grew up in North Carolina. She works as a journalist and playwright. All over the world, autism is a condition that attracts scrutiny and controversy-it is both highly variable and often poorly understood. In Russia, a society still struggling with inherited Soviet disdain of anything […]

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New lessons in economics: Russian parents struggle with school expenses as real incomes fall

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Alexander Bratersky, special to RBTH – September 3, 2015) As Russian students head back to school, the country’s continued economic downturn and decline in real income is forcing some parents to make difficult decisions about educational expenses. Victoria, a single mother of a 13-year-old son, used to make enough money to live comfortably […]

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Russians Consider Marrying, Giving Birth and Education Most Important Things

Couple in Hospital with Newborn

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Daria Litvinova – August 28, 2015) When asked what the most important things to do before turning 30 are, most Russians chose getting married, giving birth and receiving an education, while things like starting a business or traveling the world were at the bottom of the list, a poll released Wednesday by an independent Russian […]

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The seductive power of Seliger

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(opendemocracy.net – Kristina Silvan – May 8, 2014) Kristina Silvan is a 5th year Finnish undergraduate student from the University of Glasgow Every year the Seliger All-Russia Youth Forum brings together tens of thousands of engaged young Russians for a week of edification in an idyllic natural setting. Its goal is to promote patriotism in Russia’s future elites – and […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] State Council Presidium meeting on family, motherhood and childhood policy

File Photo of Russian Expectant Couple with Mother in Hospital Bed

(Kremlin.ru – February 17, 2014) Vladimir Putin held a State Council Presidium meeting on family, motherhood and childhood policy, in particular with regard to implementing the May 2012 Presidential Executive Orders. Taking part in the meeting were Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko, Deputy Prime Minister Olga Golodets, Presidential Aide Igor Levitin, the heads of federal ministries and agencies, and a […]

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Structure of Russian Family Continues to Change, Expert Says

File Photo of Russian Expectant Couple with Mother in Hospital Bed

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, December 30, 2013) Despite the traditionalism being promoted by President Vladimir Putin and the Russian Orthodox Church, the Russian family continues to change, with more people living alone or with those to whom they are not married and having fewer children than their parents, according to a scholar at Moscow’s Higher School […]

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Divorce, Russian style

Map of European Portion of Former Soviet Union

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Lyudmila Nazdracheva, Special to RBTH – October 16, 2013) Russia has the highest divorce rate in the world, but the causes and consequence of broken marriages aren’t surprising. When Valery Lepekhin’s boss got on his nerves one too many times, he punched him in the eye. Lepekhin was fired, but he felt like […]

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Russians put career before having a family

Empty Boardroom

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Marina Obrazkova, RBTH – August 26, 2013) A third of Russians think raising children gets in the way of having a successful career. People younger than 24 years of age are putting career before family, a poll by major recruiting web portal Superjob showed. Experts are not surprised and believe the trend is […]

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Father’s Day: As Tolstoy wrote, all happy families are alike…

Leo Tolstoy file photo

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Viktoria Ushakova, special to RBTH – June 16, 2013) RBTH looks at parenting skills of five great Russian writers. Some writers are so consumed by their art that their families are eclipsed, while other writers manage an enviable closeness with their loved ones. On the occasion of Father’s Day, RBTH recalls what kind […]

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Peskov: There is no other woman in Putin’s life

Vladimir Putin and Lydumila Putin file photo

(Interfax – MOSCOW, June 7, 2013) President Vladimir Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov has dismissed rumors that Putin will re-marry soon after divorce. “There is no other woman in the president’s life,” he said on Ekho Moskvy radio, noting that one should look at Putin’s busy schedule. “It is easy to understand that his life is in no way connected […]

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About 70% of Russians have no problems with Putin divorce – poll

Vladimir Putin and Lydumila Putin file photo

(Interfax – MOSCOW, June 7, 2013) More than two-thirds of Russians don’t believe that the status of a country’s president deprives him or her of the right to divorce, an opinion poll suggests. Asked, “Does the president have the right to divorce, in your opinion?”, 71% of those questioned by the Superjob.ru portal on Friday answered in the affirmative. Every […]

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Putin’s spokesman Peskov calls for treating president’s life with respect

Vladimir Putin and Lydumila Putin file photo

(Interfax – MOSCOW, June 7, 2013) Russian President Vladimir Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov has called for treating the president’s private life with respect and not intruding into it. Peskov refrained from answering Interfax how Vladimir and Lyudmila Putin’s daughters had taken the news about their divorce. “Anything that concerns Vladimir Putin’s private life concerns only him, and he has […]

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Lyudmila Putina Once Called Her Husband a Vampire

Vladimir Putin and Lydumila Putin file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – June 7, 2013) Lyudmila Putina once called President Vladimir Putin a vampire, while he in turn has suggested that anyone who could put up with her for three weeks was heroic and deserved a monument. These and other observations about the private family life of the Putins were detailed in a 2001 book that provided […]

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Strict Measures in Works to Boost Population

File Photo of Russian Expectant Couple with Mother in Hospital Bed

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Natalya Krainova – May 29, 2013) Senior federal officials on Tuesday discussed at the Kremlin the country’s draft plan for the next 12 years to support families with children and ultimately reverse the natural population decline. As part of the plan to boost Russia’s dwindling population ­ which declined for a 20th consecutive year in […]

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Child Welfare Bill Sparks Fears Among Parents

Vladimir Putin file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Natalya Krainova – February 19, 2013) A bill redefining the conditions under which children can be seized from so-called “socially vulnerable families” has provoked fear among critics that more minors could be taken into state care due to petty infractions. Amid a renewed push by authorities to decrease the number of children in state care, […]

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