With influx of foreigners for the World Cup, a senior lawmaker has reportedly implored Russian women to avoid entering into intimate relationships with foreign World Cup fans at the risk of raising children as single mothers.
More than half a million fans from across the world are expected in 11 Russian cities that will host the football championship between June 14 and July 15.
Concerns about racism and discrimination in Russia have shadowed the weeks leading up to the World Cup games, and the lawmaker’s statement waded into racially-charged territory.
Bearing the children of non-Russians could lead to broken families, Tamara Pletnyova, the head of the State Duma’s Family, Women and Children Committee, warned in an interview with Moscow Times on Wednesday.
“These children will later suffer and have suffered in the Soviet era,” Pletnyova said, claiming that a similar trend occurred after the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow.
Russia’s birth rate hit its lowest level in a decade last year despite government efforts to encourage Russians to reverse the demographic trend.
“We should be giving birth to our own children. I’m not a nationalist, but still,” said Pletnyova.