With declining birthrates undermining what some see as Russia’s return to great-power status, the government of Ulyanovsk Oblast has, for the third year in a row, encouraged employers to give people the day off, in order to have sex. As part of a larger Kremlin campaign to increase births, participants in the ‘sex day’ can look forward to prizes – this year one couple won a jeep for their fourth child. Additionally, at the local post office people can send love letters, postage pre-paid, to anywhere in the country. Though Russia’s population has been contracting by over 700,000 people a year, the new campaign has shown some success, at least in Ulyanovsk. In order to meet the Russian government’s goals for population, it is hoped the population will stabilize at 142 million by 2015 and climb to 145 million by 2025. Among the several reasons hampering Russia’s population figures, abortion stands out saliently. In recent years Russia has seen, at times, 13 abortions for every 10 live births.
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