Putin promises more state support for families as election looms

  • World
  • Thursday, 29 Feb 2024

Russian President Vladimir Putin walks to deliver his annual address to the Federal Assembly, in Moscow, Russia, February 29, 2024. REUTERS/Evgenia Novozhenina

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin proposed more generous tax allowances for families with children and additional funds for regions with low birth rates on Thursday, ahead of an election in which he is almost certain to win six more years in power.

Demographic concerns have plagued the Russian authorities for many years. Earlier this month, Putin urged Russian families to produce at least two children for the sake of the nation's ethnic survival, and three or more for it to develop and thrive.

Putin, 71, addressing lawmakers and other members of the country's elite, said at least 75 billion roubles ($825.51 million) would be allocated to regions with below average birth rates by 2030 and proposed prolonging preferential mortgage and maternity capital programmes until 2030.

"Constant work aimed at improving the quality of life for families with children and supporting the birth rate is needed," Putin said, announcing the launch of a new national project called 'Family'.

Poverty remains an acute problem, he said, directly affecting 9% of the population and with the rate among large families above 30%. The goal is for those rates to fall below 7% and 12% respectively by 2030, he said.

Putin often makes pre-election promises, pledging more funds for groups such as pensioners, veterans and families that analysts see as a way for him to shore up support.

Russia suffered two decades of steady population decline following the collapse of the Soviet Union, exacerbated by chronic problems such as alcoholism.

($1 = 90.8525 roubles)

(Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin, Anastasia Lyrchikova, Darya Korsunskaya, Olesya Astakhova; Writing by Alexander Marrow; Editing by Gareth Jones)

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