That the birth rate in Russia is plummeting does not exactly mean Russians don’t love kids – they do, it’s just that Russia can’t afford large families anymore.
Parents here now pay an arm and a leg to support a newborn baby – what with all these Pampers and other Western stuff on offer. To say nothing of supporting and bringing up older kids. For, as the Russians say, “small children, small worries; big children, big worries” (маленькие детки – маленькие бедки, а вырастут велики – будут большие). Nevertheless, as Sting sang in a song that went over very well in Russia: “...Russians love their children too.” Those parents who have both a daughter and a son are thought to be especially lucky, for they have what old Russians call “golden children” – золотые дети.
The father of Soviet literature, Maxim Gorky, had this to say about kids: “Children are the flowers of life” (Дети – цветы жизни). Hopeless cynics rephrased the stock phrase to: “Children are the flowers of life on their parent’s grave” (Дети – цветы жизни на могиле родителей). But then this was probably invented in a moment of despair and most likely refers to the big worries brought on by big children...
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Russian Life is a 29-year-young, award-winning publishing house that creates a bimonthly magazine, books, maps, and other products for Russophiles the world over.
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