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The Russian government announced this week that it will bring back a Soviet-era honorary degree and financial reward given to Russian women who have 10 or more children.
A decree signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin this week announced that the title of “mother heroine” would once again be bestowed on Russian women who “give birth to and raise” 10 Russian citizens.
The title will come with a reward of 1 million Russian rubles, equivalent to approximately $16,645, once the tenth child turns one year old. Recipients will also receive a five-pointed gold star medal, the decree said.
The title “Mother Heroine” comes with certain caveats, such as that all children must be alive by the first birthday of the tenth child unless they were killed in military service, community service, or in a terrorist attack.
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Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting via video conference at the Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow, Russia, June 1, 2022. (Mikhail Metzel, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)
In addition, the children must be well cared for and receive the “appropriate level of care for health, education, physical, mental and moral development”.
Russia began awarding the “Mother Heroine” to mothers in 1944 and continued to do so until 1991, when the Soviet Union collapsed.
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Russian soldiers tune their T-72 tanks on the eve of the Victory Day military parade. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)
Russia has faced a worsening population decline in recent years, exacerbated by heavy casualties in its invasion of Ukraine, migration from Russia and a low birth rate.
The working-age population as a percentage of the total population has declined every year since 2010, United Nations data shows.
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Rebekah Koffler, a former DIA US intelligence officer who focused on Russia and author of “Putin’s Playbook: Russia’s Secret Plan to Defeat America,” told Fox News Digital that she remembered the title “Mother Heroine” when growing up in Russia as a young girl was part of the country’s plan to “replenish the population lost during World War II, famine and Stalin’s purges”.
“Putin is reviving these Soviet-era tactics to offset the effects of his war in Ukraine, which is killing thousands of men of childbearing age,” Koffler said. “But the truth is that no sane young woman in Russia is going to have 10 children. First of all, the economic conditions do not allow it, there is no culture to have so many children. Because religion was banned in the USSR, religious groups like Catholics, who would otherwise have many children, are not.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks to flight attendants during commentary broadcast on state television March 5, 2022. (Portal video)
Koffler explained that Putin launched a similar push in 2007 when he declared a national conception day and gave workers a holiday and day off the next day to allow couples to conceive.
“None of these methods have fully resolved the demographic crisis in Russia, where the total fertility rate is 1,824 births per woman, which is below the replacement level of 2.2,” Koffler said.
Andrew Mark Miller is a Fox News writer. Find him on Twitter @andymarkmiller and email tips to [email protected]