Target: Dmitriy Medvedev, Prime Minister of Russian Federation
Goal: Condemn Russian prime minister’s proposed tax raise on divorces
Prime Minister Dmitriy Medvedev’s proposition of raising the divorce tax by a hundred times is a contemptuous piece of legislation that patronizes Russian men and women by blaming and further punishing them for divorce. The prime minister hopes that the law would make Russians think more carefully before getting married. The implication is that Russian people take marriage too lightly and don’t make a serious commitment to a life together. Since, according to that reasoning, divorce is a failure of foresight, divorcees should pay a penalty for it.
This is a silly argument that treats divorce in the fashion of a crime. The reality of failed marriages may not even have anything to do with the decision-making process of the couple, as there are myriad reasons why people end up divorcing. Hence, a 30,000 ruble divorce tax, the equivalent of the average Russian’s monthly salary, just ends up imposing a financial penalty on divorcees for absolutely no valid reason.
But perhaps the prime minister is not naive enough to think that Russian men and women can prevent divorces by choosing their mates more carefully to ensure compatibility and a conflict-free, fulfilling couple. Instead, he may just simply be pandering to a segment of the Russian population that wants to see the government legislate morality. The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, has also appealed to those who cherish traditional values with equally absurd moralistic rhetoric. Like Medvedev, Putin sees divorce as a threat to the social fabric of Russian society. Apparently, ruined heterosexual marriages, along with non-procreating homosexual couples, would be responsible for a lower birthrate that would eventually cause ethnic Russians to be outnumbered by the progeny of foreign migrants.
Pressuring couples to stay married in order to boost the country’s birthrate not only turns average Russians into pawns for the government’s ideological goals but also instills in them a hatred of minorities and “deviants”: the foreign immigrants that supposedly threaten to outnumber them and the homosexuals that allow it to happen by failing to procreate. The Russian government’s obsession with punishing divorce only serves to limit personal choice in matters of love and marriage and to reinforce intolerant attitudes within the Russian population. Sign this petition to condemn the ridiculous law intended to punish divorcees with a heavy penalty for not taking matrimony seriously and not upholding the traditional value of marriage.
Dear Dmitriy Medvedev, Prime Minister of Russian Federation,
We would like to appeal to your common sense and urge you and your party, One Russia, to reconsider the recently proposed legislation that punishes individuals who do not uphold the traditional values of marriage and procreation that you would like to promote. It is true that the Russian government may indeed owe a measure of gratitude to married couples who bring up children. A traditional family is the bedrock of society because boys and girls who are raised in loving homes often grow up to be well-adjusted individuals that make a positive contribution to the life of their country.
However, as in any society, not every couple can become a model family. Some husbands and wives will divorce, others will have no children. Some couples may be same-sex couples that don’t give birth either. But all that is normal. It would be a ridiculous expectation to want to see every Russian man and woman come together to a form a multi-child heterosexual family. Such a result could only be achieved by a totalitarian state that denies its people the freedom to decide who they would want to spend their lives with and when or if they would like to have children.
With that in mind, we urge you to withdraw your support from the law intended to penalize divorcing couples with a fine of 30,000 rubles — the equivalent of the average Russian’s monthly salary — for their alleged shortcoming of not thinking seriously through their decision to marry. Equating a divorce with a dereliction of duty to the state because it threatens to contribute to a low birthrate and a decreased population is a cruel way of subjugating individual choice in matters of love to government priorities. Let couples resolve questions of love and marriage privately; please don’t force them to think of their marriage as a duty to society that they will pay heavily for neglecting.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Goxxy via Flickr