A prominent Russian politician has supported the introduction of a tax on citizens who refuse to have children. The idea was first floated by the country’s ‘Council of Mothers’ as a means to solve the country’s demographic crisis.
Speaking to the news agency ‘Moscow,’ Tamara Pletnyova, a Communist Party MP and the chair of the parliamentary Committee on Family, Women, and Children, argued that “those who don’t want to have children should be taxed.” She added that those medically unable to do so and those no longer of reproductive age should be exempted.
“This was the case in Soviet times,” she explained. “Only then, it was not women who paid for childlessness, but men.”
The Communist chairwoman is known for her controversial views on relationships, and made international news after advising Russian women not to have sex with foreign men during the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Pletnyova was responding to an idea from the Council of Mothers, an organization headed by Tatyana Butskaya, a blogger with over 1.7 million subscribers on Instagram.
According to Butskaya, Russia has a demographic problem, and will cease to exist if immigrants come to populate it.
“We are talking about those who deliberately refuse to give birth to a child. If they don’t like it, let them pay the tax,” Butskaya said. “They won’t be asked to pay 600,000 rubles ($7,700) a month – hypothetically speaking, it could be 500 rubles ($6.50) a month.”
Like many other European states, Russia is currently battling a demographic crisis, as the country’s population is continuing to fall. The number of people in Russia is estimated to have decreased by 158,000 in 2020 – five times more than last year, when the drop was just 32,100.
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However, Butskaya’s proposal has far from universal support. According to politician Elena Strokova, a member of the far-right LDPR, it’s wrong to tax people for not having children, and, instead, the state should provide benefits.
“In my opinion, in this situation, it is necessary to use a carrot, not a stick,” Strokova told Russian news agency RIA Novosti. “It is unacceptable to force someone to have a child. Otherwise, I am sure the number of unwanted children among young parents would increase.”
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