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20 Jan, 2008 02:59

More Russian mums go it alone

The face of Russian families is changing. Single mothers used to be frowned upon in the Soviet Union, but now one in three babies are born out of wedlock. Many Russian women no longer need the financial security of men.

Pop singer Sasha Zvereva has a glittering career, a four-year-old daughter and another baby on the way in the summer. She has no intention of marrying the father of her children. The couple believe love and commitment are not about formalities.

Their view is becoming popular. Twenty years ago one in ten children was born out of wedlock and now it’s three in ten.

“Women have become more educated and less financially dependent on men. But they still want children. So they don’t hesitate to become mothers without being married,” said Valery Elizarov, head of Centre for Population Studies.

Elizarov believes Russia is simply picking up a trend already common in the U.S. and Europe. Still, Russians remain more attached to traditions than many westerners.

In Sweden more than half the children are born out of marriage. In the U.S. and Britain the figure is about 40 per cent.