From November 19 to November 20, 2013, Moscow hosted the Third forum of the “Sanctity of Motherhood” program, entitled “Family Values in the Modern Information Space.” About 400 representatives from 60 Russian regions, from Kaliningrad to Sakhalin, took part in the Forum.
The Forum’s goal was to put forward suggestions for the drafting of a state information policy aimed at preserving traditional family values. Only 6% of Russian families have three or more children. Sociologists say that in order to maintain Russia’s population at its current level, families with multiple children should make up no less than 50% of the overall number of families, and the total birthrate should increase from the current rate of 1.57 to 2.15. This was one of the issues brought up at the forum, which aims to unite the efforts of the government, society, the church and the media.
The opening speech was delivered by Vladimir Ivanovich Yakunin, Deputy Chairman of the Board of the Endowment for St Andrew the First-Called, who read out an address of President Vladimir Putin to the Forum’s participants. According to the Russian president, the Forum unites people of diverse professional backgrounds and political and personal views. “You are all brought together by your responsible outlook on life, your sincere concern about issues that have every right to be at the top of the social agenda.”
The first part of the plenary meeting also featured greetings from Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow and All-Russia, Svetlana Vladimirovna Medvedeva, president of the Socio-Cultural Initiatives Foundation, and Valentina Ivanovna Matvienko, Chairwoman of the Federation Council of the Russian Federation.
Natalia Viktorovna Yakunina, Chairwoman of the Board of the Endowment for St Andrew the First-Called and of the Board of Trustees of the “Sanctity of Motherhood” program, said that the forum’s initial purpose was to provide an opportunity to listen to like-minded individuals. The First All-Russian “Sanctity of Motherhood” forum was held in November 2010 in Moscow; the second, last year in Nizhny Novgorod. The proposals voiced at those two forums have been heard; they are now included in the state family policy concept. In her report, Ms. Yakunina also spoke of the training provided to more than five hundred psychologists in Smolensk, and of the support given to Motherhood Protection Centers, which are often where teenage mothers turn for help when they don’t know where else to find it. These institutions currently function in many Russian regions and are often backed by the Russian Orthodox Church.
The first day of the Forum culminated in the unveiling of a monument to the canonized spouses Dmitry Donskoy and Euphrosyne of Moscow on the grounds of the temple dedicated to Euphrosyne of Moscow.