World Bulletin / News Desk
President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday encouraged Russians to have more children, saying three per family should be the average, as he seeks to battle an acute demographic crisis upon returning for a third Kremlin term.
"For Russia to be sovereign and strong, there should be more of us," Putin said in his annual speech to the Federal Assembly of both houses of parliament.
"I am sure that a family with three children should be the norm for Russia. But much needs to be done to make this happen."
Russia's falling population in the 1990s seemed like "the final verdict on the country", Putin said. But "we were able to break this destructive trend. This is our key achievement."
Russia's population has begun growing this year for the first time in post-Soviet history, with more births than deaths, Putin said.
The latest figures from the state statistics service indicate that there were 790 more births than deaths in the first 10 months of 2012.Güncelleme Tarihi: 12 Aralık 2012, 17:41