Family institution in Russia

Ksenia L.
4 min readFeb 4, 2021

Almost every person, regardless of the country and nation, has some general ideas about their perfect match. As men see it, a future wife is expected to be, first of all, a soul mate, a best friend and, of course, a devoted and caring mother. And all of these three components come together in a concept of a Russian wife. There are a lot of interesting facts about the Russian family institution that you need to know before starting a relationship with a Russian woman.

Russian families

Did you know that Russian families are usually big and friendly? A typical Russian family meaning includes not only a husband, wife and children, but also all their relatives (grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and etc.). The connection between children, their parents, and grandparents remains strong no matter how far they live from each other. All members of the Russian family have a very close communication and get together regularly.

Since early childhood, Russians are being been filled with the tradition that every person should love their own home and protect their family. That is why if you choose a Russian woman to be your wife, your children will be taught to respect your parents despite all the cultural differences.

According to the survey published in 2020, 34% of Russians aged 18 to 35 live in an apartment with a partner and children (without parents). The second most common situation for young adults is to live with a partner without children or parents. And only 14% of the Russian population in that age group live alone.

Age differences in marriage then and now

Playing a wedding at an early age used to be a common thing among Russian people a couple of decades ago. Young girls and guys would marry in their twenties while studying in college. Freshly created student families fully depended on the financial support of senior family members.

The tradition of getting married young comes from the distant past when a sixteen year old girls were considered mature enough for adult life and giving birth to children. Like the scene from a famous painting called “The Unequal Marriage” created by Vasily Pukirev in 1862, many marriages back then were a matter of practicality, not romance.

Vasily Pukirev “Unequal Marriage”

Nowadays, an average Russian woman gets married between ages 25–34, which is eight years later than she did earlier this decade. Marriages between Russians of the same age are much less frequent, according to the latest statistics. Usually the husband is around five years older than his wife and the age difference of more than ten years is also acceptable.

Civil partnerships in Russia

Many Russian couples start living together in one apartment and sharing all household expenses before getting married officially. In Russia this type of relationship is usually called “the civil union”. Civil union is a perfect way for young adults to test each others true intentions and make sure they are ready for a married life. A marriage in Russia becomes official after the couple signs a wedding certificate in the Civil Register Office.

Parental/maternity leave in Russia

Fathers on a parental leave in Russia are a big rarity. Even though Russian law gives parents equal rights, only 2% of Russian men use the opportunity to raise their newborn children.

Maternity leave and benefits in Russia are the responsibility of the Social Insurance Fund and include 140 days at 100% of the salary — 70 days before the birth of a child and 70 days after (194 days in case of multiple pregnancies or complications — 84 days before the birth and 110 days after).

Employees have the right to return to work during the full period of paid or unpaid maternity leave. Maternity leave can be extended to a maximum of 3 years without losing a job.

Divorce in Russia

According to the official statistics, Russia has a high rate of marital breakdown with as many as 60% of marriages ending in divorce.

The divorce procedure in Russia begins when one or both spouses file a marriage dissolution request within the local Civil Registry Offices. In case of mutual agreement, the whole divorce procedure usually takes about a month.

After the divorce, children in Russian families may stay with either one of the parents (but it’s more likely for mothers to keep bringing them up). According to the law regulations, fathers help to support their children until they turn 18. The support comes in the form of monthly payments: 25% of monthly wages for one child, 1/3 for two children, or half of wages for three children.

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