• In his International Women’s Day address, Vladimir Putin emphasized the importance of having kids.
  • The Russian president reiterated that 2024 is the “year of the family” in Russia.
  • Putin has repeatedly leaned on Russia’s women to have more children to fix its demographic crisis.

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International Women’s Day on March 8 is a big deal in Russia.

It’s observed as a national holiday, on which workers get the day off work, TV stations highlight the achievements of Russian women, and Russian President Vladimir Putin makes an address.

In this year’s speech, Putin had a clear message about what a Russian woman’s purpose in life should be: having kids.

“You, dear women, are capable of transforming the world with your beauty, wisdom, and generosity of spirit. But most of all, thanks to the greatest gift bestowed on you by nature — childbirth,” he said.

Putin said becoming a mother was an “amazing purpose for a woman,” according to a translation by The Moscow Times.

“Family remains the most important thing for any woman, no matter what career path she chooses or what professional heights she attains,” he added, per an official Kremlin translation.

He said this involved the “tireless” effort of looking after children.

In the address, Putin also restated that 2024 is the year of “the family” in Russia.

Putin signed an executive order last year to name this year as the year of baby-making.

Driving his decision is a demographic crisis in Russia. Even before its invasion of Ukraine, the country’s birth rate had been in decline since 1994.

But with vast numbers of Russians killed in the war in Ukraine, hundreds of thousands of coronavirus-related deaths, and about 900,000 people having fled the country, the situation has only worsened.

As a result, Putin has repeatedly called on Russians to have more babies.

In November, he said the country must return to a time when people had large families, calling Russians to revive the tradition of having seven, eight, or more children.

Last month, he urged Russians to have more babies to preserve their ethnic groups.

“If we want to survive as an ethnic group — well, or as ethnic groups inhabiting Russia — there must be at least two children,” Putin said at a tank factory, according to Reuters.

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Joshua Zitser