Speaking to members of Russia’s upper house of Parliament today (Sept. 23), Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev proposed a raise in the divorce tax to 30,000 rubles (about US$942), a figure about 100 times the current amount. No date has been set for discussion, but if the idea were to be adopted, it could raise a significant amount of money at a time of economic slowdown and a divorce rate of around 50 percent. Since the average monthly salary is 27,000 rubles, the tax could serve as a deterrent both to divorcing and to marrying in haste. Says Medvedev: “You should switch on your brain when registering a marriage, otherwise you’d have to pay more for ending it.”
What’s the Big Idea?
The prime minister’s suggestion is only the latest in a wave of recent socially conservative actions taking place in Russia affecting gay rights, abortion access, and freedom of speech, among others. Last week President Vladimir Putin criticized the West for letting go of traditional Christian values. In June, he and his wife Lyudmila announced the end of their 30-year marriage.