A senior Russian lawmaker overseeing family-related issues has some advice for fellow Russian women during the World Cup: Don’t have sex with foreign men.
And should they really feel the need, better to find a partner of the same race.
The remarks by Tamara Pletnyova to a Moscow radio station on June 13 came a day before world soccer’s centerpiece tournament was set to kick off in several Russian cities — a month-long event that hundreds of thousands of foreign fans are expected to attend.
Pletnyova, chairwoman of the Family, Women, and Children Affairs Committee in the lower house of parliament, was quoted by Govorit Moskva radio as warning of a possible rise in the number of single mothers, claiming a similar trend occurred after the Soviet Union hosted the Summer Olympics in 1980.
“These children suffer and have suffered, even since Soviet times,” she said in comments published by Govorit Moskva. Audio of the interview could not immediately be located on the radio station’s website.
She also suggested that should a Russian woman get pregnant, it would be better if the father of the child was “of the same race.”
“If it’s another race, then it’s even worse,” Pletnyova, a member of the Communist Party, was quoted as saying. “We should give birth to our own children. I’m not a nationalist, but nonetheless. I know that the children suffer as well, and then they are abandoned and stay here with the mother.”
She added that, even if Russian women get married to their foreign partners, they could end up living abroad with their spouses and have no idea how to return home.
“Then they come to me at the committee and cry that the child was taken away, removed, and so forth. I would like people to get married based on love in our country, regardless of which ethnicity, [to] Russian citizens who would build a good family, live in harmony, have children, and raise them.”
‘Acute Demographic Situation’
Russia’s state statistics service said in January that the country’s birthrate fell 10.7 percent in 2017 compared to the previous year. It was the third consecutive year that a decline in the number of births was registered.
President Vladimir Putin in November warned of an “acute demographic situation in Russia.”
Tatyana Kosareva, a spokeswoman for Pletynova, told RFE/RL by telephone on June 13 that she was unaware of the lawmaker’s remarks during the radio interview and could not immediately comment.
Kosareva later replied to an e-mailed inquiry that included a link to the interview.
“No comment,” she wrote in an e-mail.
Pletnyova is no stranger to controversial statements.
In March, she expressed support for comments by Vyacheslav Volodin, the speaker of Russia’s lower house of parliament, in which he told female journalists who cover the legislature to change jobs if they face sexual harassment from lawmakers.
“I would like to say that these girl journalists should look more decent, put clothes on themselves when entering a state building, instead of having their belly buttons naked,” Pletnyova said in an interview with Ekho Moskvy radio. “Volodin is right and I fully support him. If they are scared and are offended, they should not come here.”
Volodin’s remarks followed sexual harassment accusations made by female journalists against senior Russian lawmaker Leonid Slutsky.