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Russians the Quickest to Marry and Divorce

Published: December 14, 2004 (Issue # 1029)


MOSCOW - Russians are the quickest to marry, but also to divorce, out of all the citizens of countries in Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, a UNICEF report has found. Also, Russia retains its long-time leadership in abortions and the share of children in residential care, the survey of 27 countries said.

Demographics experts explain the high marriage rate of young Russians by the persisting negative attitude of their parents to sexual relations outside marriage, while the high abortion rate is due to poor knowledge of family planning and the high price of birth-control pills.

The report, issued last month, summarizes demographic and socioeconomic trends based on official statistics since 1989.

It says that an average of seven couples get married in Russia each year per 1,000 people - more than double the rate in Georgia, which has just three weddings per 1,000 people.

But Russians are also the most likely to get divorced, with a record six couples per 1,000 people getting divorced in 2002, or 83 percent of the marriage rate.

Next in the divorce stakes are Estonians (almost 70 percent), while the lowest divorce rate among the countries surveyed is in Tajikistan (7 percent).

"In Russia, free love among the young is not welcomed by their parents, who in most cases continue to provide for their children for quite a long time," said Olga Kurbatova, a researcher at the Institute of General Genetics. "Not every mother will agree with her daughter's boyfriend moving in, especially if their home is the modest apartment in which most Russians live."

The early marriages, which are just attempts to legitimize sexual relations between emotionally immature and socially and economically dependent young people, are prone to quick breakups, Kurbatova said, adding that children born in these unstable unions often become an undesirable burden for parents.

The study also finds that the share of children deprived of parental care in Russia is the largest among the surveyed countries: More than 420,000, or one in 70, children under 17 live in infant homes, orphanages and boarding schools.

In neighboring Ukraine, the rate is three times lower than in Russia, while in Turkmenistan - where the country's authoritarian president, Saparmurat Niyazov, himself grew up in an orphanage - government statistics say only one child in 2,400 lives in residential care.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Monday, Sept. 1


Today marks the beginning of Lermontov-Fest, a fall festival celebrating the life of one of Russia’s most remarkable poets who, in a fate eerily similar to Pushkin’s, was killed in a duel at the age of 26. Organized by the Lermontov Library System, the next several months will see art exhibitions, concerts and public lectures focusing on the Lermontov’s short yet prolific career. Check the Lermontov Library System’s website for more details.



Tuesday, Sept. 2


Join expats and practice your Russian during the Russian Club’s weekly meeting tonight at 7:30 p.m. The club is free to participate in although you need to be a registered member of Couchsurfing.



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