Russians Get Holiday to Multiply
Couples get day off nine months before country's national day
By Sam Gale Rosen,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 15, 2007 5:38 PM CDT
Citing the population crisis as one of most dire threats facing Russia today, President Putin has made procreation an official Russian priority.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – The Ulyanovsk region of Russia will give its citizens a day off to procreate—nine months before Russia's national day of June 12; couples whose children are born on that day can even win prizes. The Russian population has been dropping since the early 90s, and President Putin has called the demographic crisis Russia's biggest challenge.

The grand prize last June 12 went to Irina and Andrei Kartuzov, who won a sports utility vehicle. Other contestants went home with TVs, refrigerators, and washing machines. Ulyanovsk is about 550 miles east of Moscow, and has observed the fecundity festival since 2005. Russia, the world's largest country by area, has a population of only 141.4 million.