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Mother Russia: prizes offered for babies

By Channel 4 News

Updated on 12 September 2010

A record number of Russian women have registered for the chance to win a fridge or a car, by falling pregnant today.  Kylie Morris discovers that more than a thousand women have signed up for the annual Day of Conception.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin kisses a baby on a recent trip; Russia is offering prizes to women who give brith on the Day of Conception (Image: Getty)

Five hundred miles east of Moscow, schools are closing in Ulyanovsk - the region best known as the birthplace of Vladimir Lenin.

Teachers say soon there will be no-one left to teach. Hence, the local authority's Day of Conception.  It is all part of a national push to increase Russia's falling birth rate.

Take today off to procreate - produce a baby on June 12th, Russia Day, and you are in the running for money, video cameras, televisions, even a fridge.

The public-health system is in disarray, mortality rates have increased and birth rates are declining. The average Russian male dies at 59 - extraordinarily low for an advanced economy.

Meanwhile, the birth rate in Russia is an average of 1.41 children for each woman in her child bearing years. In the UK, the birth rate is only slightly higher at 1.68, while in Italy and Spain it edges lower at 1.32. Taiwan wallows at the bottom of the list with just 1.15 children borne to each woman.

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