(Mikhail Klimentyev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP, File)

In an unconventional approach to counter Russia’s declining population, Mayor Mikhail Minenkov, a staunch Putin supporter, has urged men in the southern city of Nevinnomyssk to “sneak up” on women and encourage procreation for the sake of patriotism.

The 46-year-old reservist colonel, honored by Putin as a Hero of Russia for his war efforts, presented this suggestion as a response to Putin’s call for larger families amid the country’s population decline, exacerbated by the conflict in Ukraine.

Minenkov’s “appeal to men” urged them to take action by falling in love and creating families, aiming for a significant increase in the city’s population. The mayor emphasized the urgency, suggesting that couples strive to have 10,000 children by the end of 2024, fostering a sense of duty to rebuild the population, told Daily Star.

Acknowledging the potential naivety of his proposal, Minenkov defended the need to push, move, and persuade the populace. He linked the declining population to the toll of Putin’s war, with over 300,000 Russians killed or injured in less than two years.

Putin himself, in a recent address, emphasized the importance of early childbirth and a minimum of three children per family for the nation’s growth. However, Russians contend that the war has created an environment of insecurity and economic turmoil, discouraging families from expanding.

While Minenkov received support from some locals, others ridiculed his proposal. Concerns were raised about the impact of encouraging more children in a time of war, questioning the mayor’s intelligence and even suggesting the abolition of rape laws.

The declining population trend in Russia has become a growing concern, with recent statistics revealing a sixth consecutive annual fall, bringing the permanent population down to 146.2 million. Putin’s reluctance to disclose the number of his children adds a layer of intrigue to the ongoing demographic challenges facing the country.

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