Large families awarded in Kremlin

"We will carry on helping to maintain the prestige of family values. And I am sure this will bring its results which our country needs so much. This is the main thing we should work for despite the economic and the political questions", Interfax quotes the President.

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Medvedev has reminded that the past year was named `the Year of Family'. In his opinion "it has shown that a right demographic policy course has been set. We expected to increase the birth rate in the country and that is what the statistics shows."

The President brought to attention data which says the birth rate in 2007 rose by more than 8 per cent and in 2008 by more than 6 per cent. "The other figure which in my opinion is no less important is that 75,000 orphans were adopted within the last year", Medvedev underlined.

He also pointed out that nowadays there are almost 1.5 million families with more than four children and every sixth child is being brought up in such family.

Addressing the participants of the ceremony, Medvedev noted that "by the attitude to the education of your children you show an example to all society and keep the traditions of parental service which our country has been developing for centuries. A safe parental house gives a child a bright example of a normal, happy, successful life. A happy family better reveals the child's talents and abilities."

The first to receive the award were eight married couples with many children from different regions of Russia: Ildar Gabsalyamov and his wife Ramziya from Tatarstan; Vladimir Maksimov and his wife Olga from Yakutia; Andrey Maltsev and his wife Svetlana from the Kurgan Region; Ivan Novikov and his wife Alla from St. Petersburg; Ivan Osyak and his wife Nadezhda from the Rostov region; Vladimir Popov and his wife Nadezhda from the Omsk Region; and Abdulhalik Halikov and his wife Hanperi from Dagestan.

Parents having many children were invited to the Kremlin together with their children. In each of these families there are at least four children. For example, the Osyak couple has 17 children, and the Maltsev family boasts 18 children, 13 of which are adopted.

Right after the awards ceremony, the head of state spoke to all winners and their families.

Interfax reports that Medvedev founded the Parental Glory award in the first days of his presidency on May 13 2008. Earlier he repeatedly supported the award for having many children in a family should be given to both parents, rather than the mothers.

The new award is given to both parents (and adoptive parents also) in large families, the monetary award coming to some 50,000 roubles ($US 1600).

In addition, it is recommended to regional public authorities to provide those who have been awarded with additional social support. In some regions local authorities have already incurred the obligation to provide such families with new, more spacious houses.

According to the Parental Glory award status, it is given to the parents (or adoptive parents) who are married or, in case of an incomplete family, to one of parents who bring up or have brought up four or more children-citizens of the Russian Federation. It should be "a socially responsible family which conducts a healthy way of life and provides appropriate level of care about the children's health and their spiritual and moral education."

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