“The governor of Ulyanovsk region in Russia is offering prizes to couples who have babies in exactly nine months - on Russia's national day on 12 June”, the BBC reports. “Sergei Morozov wants couples to take the day off work to have sex. If a baby is born on national day, they will receive cars, TVs or other prizes. Mr Morozov has declared Wednesday "family contact day" as part of efforts to fight Russia's demographic crisis”.
The problem is that the population has sharply declined since the Soviet Union collapsed. So the authorities are encouraging Russians to produce more babies. They offer prizes. Apparently the authorities are afraid that soon they won’t have any citizens left to rule. So this year, they went so far as to hand over a sports utility vehicle (SUV) to the winning baby-making couple. The initiative seems to be paying off, as the region's birth rate has risen by 4.5% over the last year.
Why not allow immigrants in?
Instead of encouraging Russians to make more Russians on Russia day, why not take in more immigrants to solve the demographic problem? There are literally millions who want to migrate. Russia is not exactly on the top of their wish-list of countries, but many migrants would settle for Russia if they had no other place to go. The reason obviously is that Russia does not want more immigrants, it wants more Russians.
Demographers estimate that Russia could lose 40 million people - almost a third of its current population - by the middle of the century. Now, if they allowed in 80 million immigrants, the Russian population would be a bit less Russian and who knows so much the better for it! We say this only to indicate that the Russian solution to the problem is clearly discriminatory, or at least nationalistic. Such isolationist solutions are outdated.
We are moving toward planetarianism. Therefore, why can’t Russia set up an active immigration program? It would send a clear message to the world that Russia has really opened up. Instead, President Vladimir Putin has also introduced a scheme to encourage more children. Women who have a second or third child are eligible to receive $9,000, which can be used to pay for education or home purchases.
How can we make people see that national and racial mixing – of course, on a strictly voluntary basis – is a good thing? What is Russia afraid of? Mixing with large numbers of migrants will change the Russian national character, but it might turn out to be enriching. Then what is the problem? People’s minds have to open up. The world has indeed become smaller. That means that Russia has also shrunk! The Russians had better get used to that idea.