Celebrating Families. Who is the Evil Empire Now?
By Eric Ross, Ph.D.
When Harry Crouch, NCFM President, asked NCFM members to find examples of celebration of family, men, and parenthood, I replied almost immediately with a rather sarcastic note. It was about what many American fathers know as their sad reality:
“Good luck finding celebration of families, let alone men, in the Good Ole’ USA. It is so off-the-scale politically incorrect to praise families, let alone fathers, that I would be surprised if any such celebrations were officially recognized or acknowledged at the town level, let alone county or state. The opposite is true: It is quite all right in the USA to bash the institution of the family, and to malign, humiliate and denigrate fathers in particular.”
In contrast, if we were to turn our attention to Russia, which emerged in 1993 from the defunct Soviet Union, you will notice that general attitudes and morays there towards parenthood and children are quite refreshingly different. In its struggles to embrace again its democratic traditions, forgotten during the 76 years of Soviet Power, Russia has established several holidays, when the entire country celebrates families. Thus, Russia celebrates July 8 as a National Holiday, the Day of Family, Love, and Faithfulness, a day when people of Russia spend time with their extended family – parents, grandparents, children and grandchildren.
“A family is not just husband and wife, but also Granddad and Grandma and, most importantly, kids,” said President Dmitry Medvedev via his Twitter account, from Kremlin, Russia in July 2010. [Fn-1]
Compare this with Barack Obama’s speech on Fathers Day in 2008: “… We’ll admit that what [sic] too many fathers also are is [sic] missing – missing from too many lives and too many homes. They have abandoned their responsibilities, acting like boys instead of men.”[Fn-2] – Really? Or with his phony “folksy” quip on 2010 Fathers Day: “Too many of our men brag about doing the stuff they’re supposed to do. They say, ‘I’m not in jail!’ Well, you’re not supposed to be in jail!’” [Fn-3]
Just when President Barack Obama got to chastising America’s fathers in 2008, Russia established its Day of Family, Love, and Faithfulness, as a national holiday, which follows the old Russian religious tradition of St. Peter and St. Fevronia of Murom, the patron saints of family and marriage. The Russian Orthodox Church sanctified this ancient Russian couple into Sainthood in the 16th Century. The two reportedly had their arguments and a share of differences, he – a prince, she – a peasant girl, but when they wed in the 13th century, it was on the condition of being equals in marriage. The legend has it that the couple’s love was so strong that the two died on the same day and were found in the same grave, even despite being buried in separate plots. Even death could not part them. [Fn-5]
In establishing this holiday, the Russian government wished to revive traditional moral values, and to emphasize the importance of the family, especially for the upbringing of healthy and happy children. [Fn-5a] At the annual official ceremony in Kremlin on the Day of Family, Love, and Faithfulness, Russia’s then first lady, Svetlana Medvedeva, awarded Love and Fidelity Medals to couples who have stayed married for 25 years or longer. About 5,000 medals were awarded to Russian citizens and 400 medals – to couples all over the world: Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, France, Poland, Germany and Great Britain. [Fn-6]
Vladimir Putin declared 2008 the Year of the Family. But his zeal to promote family (and higher birth rates) went perhaps too far when a new holiday called “Family Contact Day”, celebrated on September 12, encouraged Russians to stay home and engage in marital intimacy in the hope of producing babies by Russia Day − June 12.
See RT TV’s clip titled “Russia celebrates day of love, family and fidelity” here.
Sure, we can crack jokes about Russia’s Family Contact Day, when the nation is given a day off work to get busy making babies. But think about it: While we crack jokes on comparing medals for the vicissitudes of twenty five (25) years of marriage to those awarded for gallantry in war, the mere existence of such a medal shows at least the intent by the government to promote respect for marriage and family, even if skeptics might criticize it.
Compare awarding medals to Russian families who have stayed together, to the celebration of Fathers Day in the USA — marked by media frenzy, lecturing “dead-beat dads” (most of them unemployed and destitute in an economy permanently disfigured by structural unemployment, worst in the last 40 years.) While the United States of America marks the “celebration” of Fathers Day by establishing more “domestic violence” programs [Fn-3], and mass-arrests of “deadbeat dads”[Fn-4], it is good to know that at least the former “evil empire” celebrates what people have always loved and cherished – family and parenthood.
Compare Russia’s medals to parents with President Barack Obama’s annual insult to fathers perennially delivered on Fathers’ Day, Obama pontificating that fathers should “step up.” Meanwhile, America’s so called “family courts” fashioned by “feminist jurisprudence,” award over 90% of contested child custody cases to women.
Compare Russia’s celebration of the family with the anguish and pain of millions of fathers in the Anglo-Lingua (Anglosphere) world, where fathers have been forcibly removed from the lives of their children by our most wonderful, “social democratic” governments, which have long ago fallen into the lap of feminist fascism. Compare it to fathers who have not been able to see their children for years due to vengeance by their ex-wives and girlfriends, alienating children against their fathers, with the court’s blessing and help.
But in the former “Evil Empire,” the celebration of The Day of Family, Love, and Faithfulness, is marked with weddings, concerts, church sermons, merrymaking, bouquets of daisies (which symbolize fidelity) and family feasts.
There is yet another celebration of families in Russia. It honors large families. Families with a large number of children (over four or five) are celebrated nationally, with a once-a-year-televised ceremony in Kremlin, where the President or Prime Minister delivers an address at the annual reception for parents and their children, and awards dozens of parents the medal of “Parents’ Glory.” Speaking at the ceremony last year, then Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said that without a strong family, without children, the country had no future. He heartily congratulated and thanked the mums and dads for raising wonderful children.
Russia’s large families are profiled on Russian television and in newspapers, which includes some coverage of what these families do right, such as teaching their children family values: hard work, high academic achievement, excellence in extra-curricular activities, in studying music and art, dance and sports, in taking care of several generations of family members, especially so toddlers. In this respect, political correctness in Russia is diametrically different from the “values” and political correctness promulgated throughout the U.S. by our government, its political and educational institutions, hell-bent to divide and conquer.
Undoubtedly Russia has its share of political mud-slinging, scandals and economic problems. Obtaining a divorce in Russia is easy and usually out of court, so Russia’s divorce rate of 3.36 per 1000 of population is high, giving Russia a dubious distinction of being the third highest divorce rate country in the world, after the United States (highest at 4.95) and Puerto Rico (second place at 4.47 divorces per 1000 of population.) [Fn-7]
The fact remains that Russia’s government policies at least try to uphold the marriage, family and family fidelity, while the United States family laws promote divorce, fighting for access to children and using children as pawns to get more money.
American feminist journalists continue to opine that Russia is a “backwater Patriarchal” country, “hypocritical” in celebrating families and children vis-à-vis its high divorce rate (even though the divorce rate in the U.S. is 150% of the divorce rate in Russia.) Yet, unlike the bureaucratic governmental organization in the U.S., the government of Russia shows genuine concern in its desire to strengthen families. In any respect, the dominant cultural traditions in Russia, as well as its governmental policies, have markedly greater respect for families, parenthood, and childhood than the contemporary American culture, dominated by the cacophonous “discourse” by the male-bashing, gender-feminist “vanguard.” A great deal of the American “cultural hegemony” comes from the elite, of whom many would more appropriately belong in an insane asylum, while others are shrewd vultures, gorging themselves off the carcasses of the dying Western Democracies, which they busily “deconstruct.”
Fn-1: The All-Russia Day of Family, Love, and Fidelity:
Fn-2: Obama’s Father’s Day Speech…
Fn-3: Dad in Chief: Obama Father’s Day Speech Launches Parenting Programs
Fn-4: Deadbeat dads arrested on Father’s Day
No Happy Father’s Day for ‘deadbeat dads’
Fn-5: A long story of Peter and Fevronia
Fn-5a: Day of Family, Love and Faithfulness as a sign of reviving Christian traditions
Fn-6: Russia marks Family Day
Fn-7: Divorce rates by country
If you wish to watch some televised coverage of Russia’s celebrated large families (fluency in Russian required), as an American observer, you will notice a stark contrast to the American cultural attitudes: Russian fathers are praised as the heads of their families, decision-makers and educators of their children. They are praised for passing on the family traditions to the younger generations, unlike American fathers, who are viewed as mere breadwinners (or turned into mere financial slaves, post-divorce.) Here are some examples, of which you could find much more:
You can find more information on Russian and Soviet cultural attitudes towards family and children, (juxtaposed against those in Nazi Germany and today’s USA) with numerous quotations and citations, at:
and throughout www.logos-publishing.com
A Western Scholar who demonstrates excellent understanding of the Russian and Soviet culture and attitudes towards children and families is Oxford University Professor Catriona Kelly http://www.new.ox.ac.uk/fellows/catriona.kelly