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Russia has first post-Soviet baby boom News Team…

We need White baby booms all across Europe and the United States.

MOSCOW – When they decided to have their first child, Alexander Gorlov and Laila Simanova discovered that something new was afoot in post-Soviet Russia: a baby boom. Simanova, 31, now five months pregnant, said she was surprised by how many of her friends were becoming pregnant as well. When she signed up with the Pre-Natal Medical Center in Moscow, she found it swamped with expectant mothers.

“The doctors said when they opened two years ago, we could have played football in the halls,” she said. “Now there are queues. When you call you can’t get through. The line is always busy.” Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia’s population plummeted, and until recently was shrinking at the rate of about 750,000 people a year.

So the Kremlin made kids a priority. A 2007 law expanded maternity leave benefits and payments, and granted mothers educational and other vouchers worth $10,650 for a second child and any thereafter. More important, perhaps, Russia’s surging economy has made it possible for young couples to plan for their future.

President Vladimir Putin says the baby boom is just one sign of a turnaround in the country’s long demographic decline, and credits increased state spending on health and social programs.”We have checked the falling birthrate and rising death rate,” Putin said in a Feb. 8 speech in the Kremlin. “Many doubted that the state investments this program called for would be of any use. Today I am happy to say that they have been of use.”

Putin also noted, however, that deaths still outpace births and that Russian life expectancy is the lowest in Europe. “This is a disgrace,” he said. “Our population is declining with every passing year.”

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