Putin urges Russians to stop drinking, keep making babies

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Russian President Vladimir Putin urged his country’s citizens to have larger families and to make healthier choices to extend life.

In his annual address Thursday, Putin warned NATO countries against giving Ukraine more support and touted his country’s nuclear arsenal. He threatened Western allies if they come to Ukraine’s aid.

The back half of Putin’s message, however, promised a better life to Russians — focusing specifically on the importance of having more children.

“The main purpose of the family is to have children, to procreate, to bring up children and hence to ensure the survival of our multi-ethnic nation. We can see what is taking place in some countries where moral standards and the family are being deliberately destroyed, and entire nations are pushed to extinction and decadence. We have chosen life,” he said.

“Russia has been and remains a stronghold of the traditional values on which human civilization stands. Our choice is supported by the majority of people in the world, including millions in Western countries.”

“Support for families with children is our fundamental moral choice. A multi-child family must become a norm, the underlying social philosophy, and the focus of state strategy,” he said.

In the speech, Putin described several new programs to assist parents and encourage people to build new households. He proposed extending the “maternity capital benefit,” which provides parents with a monetary gift when they have children. He also proposed doubling the tax deduction for parents’ second child and each subsequent child.

In stressing the importance of health, Putin touted the number of Russians who regularly participate in sports activities, calling that one of the nation’s “major achievements. He said “as early as next year,” Russia will offer tax deductions to those who have regular medical exams and pass a standard physical fitness test.

“Do you remember this popular slogan? Everyone remembers that joke: ‘Stop drinking – start skiing!’ Appears to be the case, the time is now,” Putin said.

“By the way, on the subject of drinking,” he continued, “we have achieved a noticeable, positive result. In fact, we have significantly reduced the consumption of alcohol, primarily strong alcohol, without imposing any extreme restrictions, which should certainly improve the health of the nation.”

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