MOSCOW, 10 Jan 2022, RUSSTRAT Institute.
“A strong, prosperous family with a large number of children is the image of the future.” This is a description made by Russian President Vladimir Putin of the national idea of the country, voiced during the congress of the “United Russia” party in 2021. Before that, he said in the program “Moscow. Kremlin. Putin” that “the national idea is patriotism, but it should not be jingoism, but aimed at the development of the country.” Why is this topic being raised “at the very top” for the second year in a row? Based on what does the leadership consider the national idea strategically important not only for the state, but also for the entire nation of Russia?
The fact that Russia has its own special mission in the world, as well as a very difficult fate, and a fist (if necessary), is known to every citizen of it, and a citizen of any state on this planet. However, no one knows where our “ship” is going, and a lot depends on it. We go to the shop, to work with a specific purpose. There are criteria by which we determine whether we have achieved this goal or not. At the household level, it is impossible to be constantly “on the way” (to the same store, otherwise we will simply find ourselves without food). Only this goal does not exist in modern Russia.
This goal is called the “national idea”, and consists in focusing the efforts of the people of the country on achieving a specific result. The state helps citizens in this, providing them with everything they need. To give an analogy, this is a geological exploration expedition for the exploration and production of gold.
The participants of the expedition are represented by people who, if they have everything they need, as well as applying their own efforts, can discover gold deposits. The state in this analogy is the leadership of the expedition, on how fully and qualitatively it equips the members of the expedition, it will depend on whether the expedition reaches the place of search or not, whether it will be able to return.
The very idea of the “national idea” as the driving force of the state originated in China. It is China, along with its other world inventions, that holds the primacy in discovering the phenomenon of general civil ideology. The oldest ideological doctrines can be considered Confucianism and, with certain reservations, Taoism.
National ideas are also found in our history. During the imperial period – “Orthodoxy, Autocracy. Nationality”, in the Soviet state – “Proletarians of all countries unite!”.
These are in other countries, but not all. At one time, Germany became great with the slogan “Deutschland Uber Alles” (Germany above all). Cuba is famous for the call “Homeland or death”, America with its Great American Dream with a hint of God-chosenness – “God save America”, in South Korea “Everything for the good of the people”.
The whole world needs to focus on those problems that are most acute in society. Dry figures indicate that this is not the amount of wages or the number of jobs, but the number of Russians.
At the end of 2020, Rosstat compiled a demographic forecast for 2021-2025, taking into account the consequences of COVID-19. Three factors were taken into account in the indicator of the general dynamics of the population: fertility, mortality, migration. According to the submitted document, by 2024 the population of Russia will decrease by 1.8 million people (this is the population of two large cities!).
One of Russia’s largest demographers, Yury Krupnov, also speaks about the demographic collapse: “The demographic situation is so serious that it would not be an exaggeration to define it as a catastrophe. There are not enough of us being born even to replace the existing population, to replace mortality. We are dying out.”
According to him, if the demographic situation does not change radically in the near future, only half of the Russian population will remain by the end of the century. For Russia as a state, this means that it may cease to exist, this is a problem of security, survival of both the people and civilisation.
This problem cannot be postponed “to the background”, combined with others. If there are no people – there will be nothing. That’s probably why the President of Russia also started talking about demography. That’s why they developed the national project “demography”. It includes five federal projects: “Financial support for families at the birth of children“; “Employment promotion“; “Older generation“; “Strengthening public health“; “Sport is the norm of life“.
It seems that a “cure” has been found, but the reality is different. Based on the operational report of the Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation on the execution of the federal budget for January-September 2020, the national project “demography” will not be able to solve the problem of population loss. “The implementation of the national project ‘Demography’ alone will not solve the problem of increasing the birth rate,” the document states.
There are many reasons for this failure, including insufficient measures taken, including initiatives to support families with children, incorrectly taken guidelines.
There is a way out, but it will be a Pyrrhic victory for us. According to demographers, the population of Russia can grow only at the expense of migrants. In this case, as a result of socio-cultural assimilation, the Russian civilisation may disappear, as well as the state of Russia.
There is another option, which was voiced by Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin: “I think that a strong, prosperous family, in which two, three, four or more children grow up, in fact, should be this image of the future of Russia. There is no need to invent anything here!”.
We are talking about large families as a priority in all spheres for our state. Strong families with three or more children should become an example, a model, and then a social norm. At the same time, the state, even out of a banal instinct of self-preservation, should maximally stimulate families (not only young ones) to have many children. What this family will be, the state itself will be like in the future.
Common goals, tasks, and ideas are united within the state. The family is the prototype of the country, which is united by family ties. It turns out that the country consists of “small states”. The most important thing is to have time. And, as we gave an example with the expedition at the beginning of the material, to provide for.
One of the core points of motivation is the allocation of land plots to large families. Unfortunately, it does not function in all regions of the federation. And plots are allocated at different ends of the settlement. “Like should be with like.” This should become the principle of settling large families. What is needed is not individual plots, houses, but districts for settling with many children.
There is also the development of these territories. Hospitals, kindergartens, schools, and roads are needed there. This can be sorted by a separate federal program.
Now there are only 1.99 million large families in Russia. For sustainable growth, a sevenfold increase in the number of large families is necessary. According to the already mentioned Krupnov, this can really be achieved within 20 years if we focus on the problem of large families.
This can gradually solve other problems of the state, for example, the problem of high-quality personnel or the “shortage of workers” that we import from Central Asia. Children are the real capital. The better the child is brought up, the better their education, the more they then contribute to GDP. Excess fertility will solve the problem of the shortage of workers, the fall in the number of economically employed population.
Let’s go back to the fact that all of this is impossible without comprehensive support measures. Let’s try to generalise them:
– provision for large parents engaged in household work of work experience and regional average salary;
– allocation of targeted grants, including for higher education, housing construction;
– free and fully-fledged healthcare, including prosthetics, not only in state medical institutions;
– provision of accommodation in specialised areas of settlements with developed and pre-prepared infrastructure for large families.
We think the reader is imbued with the idea of the need to formulate a large family as a national idea. Let’s confirm our confidence with a six-volume collective work, the creation of which was attended by: Doctor of Political Sciences Vladimir Yakunin, corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, winner of the competition of young Russian scientists-Doctors of Sciences Vardan Baghdasaryan, Chief Researcher of the Institute of Socio-Political Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Professor of the Department of Public Policy of the Faculty of Political Science of Moscow State University Sergey Kara-Murza.
In the multi-volume work, the thesis is put forward that the success and viability of Russia are inextricably linked with its national idea, the highest values. Our common confidence will be consolidated by the words of Russian President Vladimir Putin: “A prosperous, strong family with children is the future of Russia.”