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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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Sunday, Apr. 20


Celebrate Easter at Pavlovsk during the Easter Fair that begins today and continues through next Sunday. Visitors will have the chance to paint Easter eggs and children can take part in games as well as help decorate a tree in honor of Christianity’s holiest day.


Today is one of the final days to see the exhibit Cacti — Children of the Sun at the Peter the Great Botanical Garden. Starting Apr. 17, budding botanists will marvel at the variety and beauty of the desert’s most iconic plant.


Monday, Apr. 21


Improve your grasp of Neruda, Bolano and Marquez at TrueDA’s Beginners Spanish Lesson this evening at their location on the Petrograd Side. An experienced teacher will be on hand to help all attendees better understand the intricacies of the language and improve their accent.


Tuesday, Apr. 22


SPIBA’s Breakfast with the Director event series continues as the association welcomes Andrei Barannikov, general director of SPN Communications, to the Anna Pavlova Hall of the Angleterre Hotel this morning at 9 a.m. Attendees must confirm their participation by Apr. 21.


The AmCham Environment, Health and Safety Committee Meeting is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. this morning in the their St. Petersburg office.