Russia may not approve of “nontraditional sexual relations,” but government officials in one part of the country are certainly promoting traditional sex — that is, heterosexual, procreative relations.
Thursday marked the eighth annual “day of conception” in the region of Ulyanovsk in eastern Russia, with straight couples being encouraged to have sex in hopes that they will welcome children June 12. That is Russia Day, a patriotic holiday — leaders of the former Soviet Union signed a declaration of Russia’s state sovereignty June 12. 1990.
The region’s governor, Sergey Morozov, urged employers to give workers the day off so they could devote themselves to procreative sex, London’s Independent reports. There are prizes for Ulyanovsk couples who have children on Russia Day, the Independent notes; in 2012 the prize was an apartment, the previous year a Jeep. Ulyanovsk, by the way, holds an important place in Russian history: It’s the birthplace of revolutionary leader Vladimir Ilyich Lenin.
The “day of conception” is one of several Russian efforts to increase the nation’s birth rate. This year President Vladimir Putin invited the R&B group Boyz II Men to give a Valentine’s Day performance in Russia to get couples in the mood for love, but the concert ultimately did not happen, the Independent reports.
Several reports on the Ulyanovsk observance note Russia’s recently enacted ban on “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations.” The New Civil Rights Movement headlines its article “Russia So Obsessed With ‘Traditional Sexual Relations’ It Has a Holiday for Making Babies.” And MSNBC journalists discuss the “day of conception” in the video below.