And president, priests and society are proud of it
Russian society has seen a 25% increase in large families (large being more than three children) over six years. According to a 2010 population census, there were 1,250,000 large families in Russia. Today, the number has risen to 1,566,000.
In Russia today there are 1,233,000 families with three children, 233,000 with four children, 95,000 with 5-7 children, 5,000 with 8-10 children, and 929 families with eleven or more children. The government is now preparing unified federal criteria for large families and a new package of measures for supporting such families, which should contribute to further increasing their numbers and increasing the general population growth.
So why are Russians having bigger families?
State Support. Ever since 2012, when Putin sounded the alarm on Russia’s drastic demographic decline, multiple state supports have appeared for larger families. Here’s a few of them:
Families with over two kids can buy houses under privileged loan conditions: they receive credit without a down payment and the yearly loan percentage must be less than 5%
Moms who have more than one child receive a sum of $7,600 for extra expenses
Kids receive yearly financial awards for textbooks and college students get scholarships
Music, art, and sports schools are free for children from big families
Large families can also potentially receive free land or apartment space
Parents are entitled to additional vacation days.
Religious values: Though big families are still uncommon in Russia, they appear quite frequently among Russian Christian communities. It is not uncommon for priests to have many children. Some priests even open mini-orphanages, adopting children from orphanages all over Russia.
The Russian Church believes that childbirth is one of the main purposes of marriage and that having multiple children is healthy for the country, the parents, and the children. Not only do they believe that larger families bring more joy and fulfillment to the marriage, but they also help produce kinder, more responsible and less egotistical adults.
Even though the Church is accepting of the fact that not all people can or should have very large families, due to individual situations and characters, many priests believe that most devoted Christians should aim to have more kids.
Here's some information from Pravoslavie.ru:
The Orthodox Church has always understood that childbirth is one of the main purposes of marriage. The wedding service contains several prayers petitioning God to grant that the new couple is blessed with many children. The Russian Orthodox Church’s text “The Basis of the Social Concept” teaches, “In defining their attitude to the non-abortive contraceptives, Christian spouses should remember that human reproduction is one of the principal purposes of the divinely established marital union.
The deliberate refusal of childbirth on egoistic grounds devalues marriage and is a definite sin.”
Less Social Stigma. Now, this is simply my subjective experience. As someone from a big family, I got used to the big eyed your-parents-must-be-crazy reaction I get in America when I say how many siblings I have. Some outright say derogatory things, while others wonder whether it was terrible having so much responsibility. The classic comment, though, is the sarcastic “is your mom pregnant AGAIN?”
Meanwhile, in Russia, people get all misty eyed and say cheesy things like “that’s so wonderful” and “your mom is such a heroine” and “there’s no greater joy than brothers and sisters.”
So even though many Russians continue to have small families, they tend to understand and value the potential of big families for creating a giant network of support, love, and protection for the individual. And they definitely respect those who are willing to go ahead and have double digit families.
For more, watch Putin awards large families with the Order Of Parental Glory: