Support Russia Insider - Go Ad-Free!

Why Europe Hates the Russian Family

Parents appeal to the President to leave the Council of Europe, the guardian of Western values, because it violates their family and spiritual values 

MORE: Society

This post first appeared on Russia Insider

The author is the society correspondent of Svobodnaya Pressa, an on-line magazine

Recently, I came across a series of internet stories by foreigners on their impressions of Russia. One was by a Swedish man who had a chance to live with a Russian family, and was astonished to see that the Russian family is very much alive and well! 

Not the  head of their own family anymore 

He noted that the Russian family still has a patriarchal structure. Children obey their parents, who are free to punish them. This doesn’t mean beating children for misbehaving but, for example, scolding a child, not letting them go out with friends, or depriving them of pocket money. All this is inadmissible in Sweden. 

Swedish parents don’t have a right to encroach on the personal freedom of their children, and can lose them if they do. Any child can report his or her parents to the police, and the government will take action against them.  They may not raise their voice, and striking a child is now a criminal offense. 

Initially the Swedish family was also patriarchal: members obeyed the principal breadwinner. Now there is full equality, and in Europe as well as the US, same-sex marriage laws refer to parent 1 and parent 2 instead of father and mother, and it’s not obvious who is number 1.   

Another thing that surprises foreigners is that most Russians don’t send old people to a retirement home or turn grown-up children out of the house. Even in small apartments they live together. 

Family is the most important thing for Russians. It’s in their roots, and they don’t always let others into it. So it’s no coincidence that Russian parents fear their family values could be ruined if Russia were forced to adopt the European standards the Swede was questioning.     

Question to President

Most Russian parents don’t beat their children or humiliate them. But we don’t agree that if a child has chores and is raised strictly that their personal freedom is being violated! If you scold your child for bad marks, that’s not a crime. If you ban video-games, that should not be a criminal offense that should deprive you of the right to raise your child! 

The Parental Committees and Communities Association of Russia intended to submit the issue to the President during the live nationwide phone-in on April 14th. Unfortunately, it did not make it on air. The question was:

 “Why does Russia need to adopt the Council of Europe Strategy for the Rights of the Child (2016-2021), when you, Dear Vladimir Vladimirovich, have repeatedly stated that we already have our own traditional values?” 

Lately, a petition to withdraw from the Council Of Europe that requires us to adopt laws that we consider inadmissible appeared on the Internet.

Olga Letkova, Head of Parental Committees and Community Associations of Russia, Council Deputy for the Protection of the Family and Traditional Family Values under the Commissioner for children rights said:

— This strategy is intended to ruin the institution of the family and push perverted propaganda. Imagine! The Council of Europe Strategy claims that one child in five is supposedly abused within the family circle! That is a blatant lie that contradicts the statistics. 

The statute bars physical punishment of children, including by parents in their own home, and threatens "those who transgress" with criminal prosecution. The banning of any physical punishment that does no harm to a child’s life and health contradicts the parents’ right to raise their children and act in accordance with their beliefs (Art. 28, Art. 38 of Russian Constitution). Imagine that your child falls from his bike and gets hurt. If you drive them to the hospital you may be accused of beating your child and bring criminal proceedings against you. No kidding. There have been cases where parents come to the hospital with an injured child and medical workers report them to the police. 

According to the Council of Europe Strategy, we would have to do away with gender differentiation and empower children as adults. 

Svobodnaya Pressa: — It also addresses sex education. 

— We recognize that as the Strategy suggests, sexual abuse starts with young children. There is a paragraph in the document about a new "holiday", on November 18th: a European Day of Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Abuse. In fact, it would protect the rights of nonexistent LGBT intersexual children (p. 35, 36), and promotes "new forms of family and bioethics", filling our children’s heads with heaven knows what!

Svobodnaya Pressa: — Is it true that we could not ban children from playing video-games? 

— The Strategy refers to the protection of the "child’s rights in the digital environment". They are formulated in such a way that parents refusing to give a child an electronic tablet or access to the Internet can result in the child’s removal in order to provide for their "best interests". Soon they will be implanting chips, considered safe and useful, into children. 

I’m sure that all these provisions contradict not only our domestic law, State Family Policy in Russia, but first of all our traditional spiritual and moral values. The family has always been Russians’ main source of protection and support. And if we adopt the Council of Europe strategy, we will no longer be able to decide anything about it! 

Support Russia Insider - Go Ad-Free!

This post first appeared on Russia Insider

Anyone is free to republish, copy, and redistribute the text in this content (but not the images or videos) in any medium or format, with the right to remix, transform, and build upon it, even commercially, as long as they provide a backlink and credit to Russia Insider. It is not necessary to notify Russia Insider. Licensed Creative Commons

MORE: Society

Our commenting rules: You can say pretty much anything except the F word. If you are abusive, obscene, or a paid troll, we will ban you. Full statement from the Editor, Charles Bausman.