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Putin Revives Soviet ‘Mother Heroine’ Title

Sergei Kiselev / Moskva News Agency

Russian President Vladimir Putin has revived the Soviet-era award of “Mother Heroine” as  the country grapples with a demographic crisis fueled by plunging birth rates.

Putin signed a decree Monday reviving the honorary title "Mother Heroine," which Soviet leader Josef Stalin first established in 1944 in the wake of massive population losses during World War II. The title stopped being awarded after the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. 

Similarly to the Soviet-era title, Russia’s “Mother Heroine” title will be bestowed on women who bear and raise 10 or more children.

Qualifying mothers are awarded a one-time payment of 1 million rubles ($16,000) as soon as their 10th living child turns one year old, according to Putin’s decree. 

The mothers still qualify if they lose any of their children in battle or as a result of a terrorist act or emergency situation, the decree states. 

The Mother Heroine title is on the same status level as high-ranking state orders like the Hero of Russia and Hero of Labor.

Putin claimed that large families were seeing a gradual revival in Russian society when he first proposed establishing the Mother Heroine title on Russia’s Children’s Day holiday on June 1.

He has called for “cardinal” measures to confront Russia’s demographic crisis.

Russia’s population has been in near-constant decline for decades, falling to 145.1 million after a decline of around 400,000 people in early 2022. 

The rate of Russia’s population decline has almost doubled since 2021 — when the coronavirus pandemic led to the country’s largest natural population decline since the end of the Soviet Union — and nearly tripled since 2020.

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