Russian President Vladimir Putin has restored a Soviet-era award to encourage women to have more children, The Moscow Times reported.
What Happened: The “Mother Heroine” award, established by Soviet leader Joseph Stalin in 1944, is aimed at saving the declining population of Russia as the country deals with heavy losses in the Ukraine war.
Stalin introduced the award during World War II when the Soviet Union lost an estimated 26 million people.
The award will be given to women who give birth to 10 or more children. Putin signed a decree on Monday, and those who qualify would be awarded one million rubles ($16,000) after their tenth child turns one.
The Russian population has been on a steady decline for decades, and that trend appears to have gotten worse in recent months after the Ukraine war — where Russia is estimated to have lost around 75,000 soldiers, according to U.S. estimates.
Between January and May, the population shrank at a record rate of 86,000 people a month, The Moscow Times reported citing state statistics agency Rosstat, earlier in July.
Meanwhile, the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy condemned Russia’s attack on a residential block in the country’s second-biggest city Kharkiv, where at least six people have died and 16 are wounded. Zelenskyy said a block of flats had been “totally destroyed” in Wednesday night’s attack.