Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has come up with a simple solution to his country’s declining population: Get Russians to have more sex.
In the latest in a series of campaign pledges released Monday, Putin vowed to give cash incentives to mothers who have a third child, to help encourage more births.
While Russia is the largest country in terms of geography, its population is only 142 million — smaller than both Pakistan and Bangladesh, according to The Daily Mail. In ‘Building justice: A social policy for Russia’, Putin warned that the current steady population decline could see the country’s population decline to just 107 million by 2050.
“We are facing the risk of turning into an ’empty space’ whose fate will not be decided by us,” he proclaims on his website. “The historic price of the choice between action and inaction is nearly 50 million human lives over the next 40 years.”
Putin added that if numerous “people-saving” strategies were employed, Russia’s population would shoot up to 154 million in the same time period, according to AFP.
Increasing the country’s birth rate has been one of Putin’s key election pledges. In his article, he vowed to offer more free kindergarten places, cheaper housing, combat drug and alcohol abuse, and offer a 7,000 ruble ($221) a month benefit bonus to mothers who have a third child, Ria Novosti reports.
But critics claim his policies would not be as effective as he touted them to be in a country that still faced lower life expectancy rates than other developed countries. “It’s impossible to imagine how you could boost the population except through massive immigration,” Anatoly Vishnevsky, director of the Moscow-based Demography Institute, said.
Putin’s grand plan has been ridiculed by Russians on internet forums and websites. One woman, Inna, said: “So, now we have to make love non-stop? In the USSR they said there was no sex in the country. In the Russian Federation it’s have sex then take the money.” Another wrote sarcastically: “Putin is like a God. He will restore the birthrate and save Russia. Oh Prometheus!” according to The Daily Mail.
Putin is facing the strongest challenge to his hold on power in 10 years. The presidential elections will be held on March 4.
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.