Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on Wednesday declaring 2024 the ‘Year of the Family’ and appointing a deputy prime minister to head a government commission that will spearhead the program.
The ‘Year of the Family’ initiative aims to “promote state policy in the field of family protection and preservation of traditional family values,” according to the document, which takes effect immediately.
The Russian government has been given until December 27 to set up a committee for implementing the ‘Year of the Family’, appoint its members, develop a plan of activities, and determine the source of funding for them.
The committee will be chaired by Tatiana Golikova, deputy prime minister for Social Policy, Labor, Health and Pensions.
In addition to the central government, the governing officials of the constituent subjects of the Russian Federation – regions, republics and so on – will be instructed to “carry out the necessary activities” to implement the ‘Year of the Family’ in 2024.
The initiative comes amid a debate in the Russian legislature about possible restrictions on abortion, which Putin called an “acute problem” in a speech earlier this month. The number of abortions in Russia has decreased drastically from 2.13 million in 2000 to 506,000 in 2022, in part thanks to government policies encouraging parenthood.
Putin has described family policy as “extremely important for the future” of Russia, reminding lawmakers that the country underwent a birth-rate collapse in the 1990s comparable to that of the Second World War, but has since recovered.
Russia last held a ‘Year of the Family’ in 2008. At the time, the government’s focus was on regulating adoptions of Russian orphans by foreign nationals. Adoptions by Americans were eventually banned in 2012. One lawmaker recently proposed extending the ban to countries that allow “gender change” as well. Adoptions by same-sex couples have been illegal in Russia since 2013.
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