Posted 13 апреля 2023,, 11:01

Published 13 апреля 2023,, 11:01

Modified 13 апреля 2023,, 12:40

Updated 13 апреля 2023,, 12:40

Neither in grief, nor in joy: why the country is gripped by an epidemic of divorces

Neither in grief, nor in joy: why the country is gripped by an epidemic of divorces

13 апреля 2023, 11:01
In the last two years, the number of divorces has been growing in all regions of the country, from liberal capitals to patriarchal national suburbs. There are no divorce certificate forms left in Buryatia. They say the pandemic, Ukraine and women are to blame. But not only them.

Yelena Petrova, Natalia Seibil

If we ask residents of Russian cities aged 35 and older whether they know many couples among their acquaintances who live in their first marriage, the absolute majority will hardly name one or two families.

The reality is that the urban population has not followed the principle of "until death do us part" for a long time. This is also confirmed by statistics: and Russia has slightly less than 7 divorces for 10 marriages. As a consolation to lovers of patriarchal bonds, we can say that in Europe, which they do not love so much, for example, in Catholic Luxembourg or Belgium, 88 couples out of 100 who have registered a marriage are getting divorced. And if we take into account the fact that quite a large number of people live in partnership, the number of real breakups is even higher.  According to a VTSIOM survey last year, 90% of Russians consider divorce acceptable.

Love boat crashed on everyday life

Preachers of the "male state" and other patriarchal sects, as well as fans of Holy Russia and Domostroy, for several years in a row, with affection, cited the example of the independent townspeople of the lubochnaya idyll of the Pelageya Sterligova family and the cheese producer Oleg Sirota. She is a modest woman in a headscarf, he is a macho "a la ruz". There were no sexual relations before the wedding, they were not even familiar when the Orphan asked for the hand of Papa Sterligov, a dollar millionaire in peasant guise. However, as an Orphan told in an interview, everything was at the registry office like that head of the Chechen Department of Internal Affairs when he took his second wife, by the way, a minor – tears, screams and curses. Then they gave birth to 4 children. All this patriarchal paradise was documented in social networks: a wife in a headscarf and a floor–length dress, cute children, a hero husband. Like in a fairy tale. In 10 years – divorce. With the alimony court, which the Orphan did not want to pay. With a dispute over acquired property and business. The new fashion – to celebrate a divorce with a party – has not reached the patriarchal idyll. And for the rest, everything ended the same way as for all other people – a difficult parting with financial troubles.

Divorce as a reflection of world progress and a cure for staples

A splint is a splint, and the reality is that the reasons for divorces lie not in morality or its absence, and not in the cynicism of the younger generations, but in the economy.

In a post-industrial society, there is practically no hard physical labor left, and the incomes of women and men are slower than we would like, but still equalize.

The family loses its economic meaning, because initially it was an association aimed at survival. Since there was a lot of income, it turned out that a woman can survive alone, without a man, and from this she has disadvantages, but there are a number of advantages, social psychologists explain.

Another consequence of equal income in the family was the ideology of Childfree. You can spray your saliva as much as you like and call for equating feminism with extremism, but the fact remains that in Russia there are 1.4 children per family, and the trend is downward. This means that the number of childless families is growing, no matter how much priests of all religions and advocates of large families lament about this. In the modern world, it is economically unprofitable to have children, which is why fewer and fewer of them are being born, and Russia is no exception here. You can talk for a long time about the "third" path of our country and special spirituality, but the figures refute these arguments.


Worthless, or how misandry developed in Russia

There is another, already Russian factor that discourages the fans of staples.

Society develops misandry, or dislike of men and their discrimination in various forms, from insults to physical aggression. According to scientists, this attitude of women to men has become mainstream.

- We have a man sitting on the couch, but he has to earn money for the whole family. And if he has not bought a car, a cottage, an apartment and does not provide flights to the Maldives to get some air, then this is not a man, but a horseradish knows who. This is so ingrained that it generates an inferiority complex in men and constant irritation in women, with what a jerk, they say, fate brought together, - the psychologist Roshchin describes the picture of life familiar to many families.

The structure of the economy is so unfavorable that all social elevators have been stopped. A man has nowhere to realize himself. Entrepreneurship in Russia is the way of a samurai or a bossy son. Other paths to success are available to very few. There are, of course, oligarchs and rulers, but these are elite specimens, psychologists say. The majority are people with very low self–esteem. The fact that part of the male population cheerfully went to their own, is also explained by the fact that the "frontline" salary, exceeding the usual 5-6 times, will not only improve the financial situation, but also, not least, will raise the status of men in families.


The state is for stability, so it is for divorce

The Russian state, for all the paradoxical nature of this statement, maintains a high level of divorce.

Social benefits and allowances help poor single people with small incomes, the poor and the young. Therefore, in order to meet these criteria, you need to get divorced. After a divorce, the per capita income decreases, and if you do this before the age of 35, you can, with a minimum of effort, receive payments and benefits for young families. Single-parent families have more benefits than full families.

- The criterion of a young family – each of the spouses must be no more than 35 years old. And single women also enter there. Therefore, if one of the spouses is over 35 years old, then they get divorced because of this in order to get a benefit. The Far Eastern mortgage, for example. This is in the Far East. And in the Caucasus, they get divorced in order to fall under the criterion of neediness and targeting, so that a woman is single and with a large number of children. Of course, she immediately falls into the category of low-income," says an independent demographer, whose last name is not recommended to be mentioned in the media.

Rosstat data for 2022 confirm this opinion. The leader in divorces for 2022 was Karachay-Cherkessia in the North Caucasus. There were 81 divorces per 10,000 inhabitants. It is followed by the Jewish Autonomous Region with 70 divorces per 10 thousand inhabitants. Ingushetia, Dagestan and Chechnya in the Southern Federal District have been holding the championship in terms of the growth rate of divorces since 2020. Despite the archaic nature of society in these republics and the religiousness imposed from above and the family ethics associated with it, economic considerations win. As Elena Churilova, associate Professor of the Department of Demography at the HSE Vishnevsky Institute of Demography, rightly notes, there are no reliable statistics either on the age of divorcees, or on their social status or education:

- We do not know if these marriages were concluded a long time ago, and these are people with experience of family life and with grown-up children who are already tired of each other and realized that it is better to separate. These may be recently concluded marriages, childless or childless – these statistics are not available to us. People get divorced to get additional benefits. If the standard of living in these republics is not very high, the incomes of the population are low, then this is one way to increase the income of the family, although in fact the spouses continue to live together. But how massive it is, I'm not ready to answer.

Before the events in Ukraine, the authorities really liked Pushkin's formula that the state in Russia is the only European. The situation is more accurately described by the statement of the popularly beloved director George Danelia: the government lives on another planet. Another reason why the Russian state benefits from a weak family is that it is easier to ensure stability this way, says Alexey Roshchin. In order for a marriage to be strong, it is necessary that men are much more confident in themselves. And here comes the paradox - the more self–confident people are, and the stronger those "cells of society" are, the more claims they make to the superstructure - the ruling class:

- The increase in self-confidence does not correspond to how the government understands stability. Choosing between stability and pampering, such as strong marriages, in fact, the government chooses stability.

Pandemic and Ukraine: Murderers or saviors of marriage

If you look at the divorce table from 1960, 2020 was the second in their number after the demographic catastrophe of the late 1990s - early 2000s, when 837 divorces were registered for 1,000 marriages.

In the first post-pandemic year, 734 marriages out of every thousand broke up in Russia. Quarantines and "remoteness" turned out to be especially disastrous for family happiness, coupled with a widespread state of anxiety. This is the phenomenon of the "isolated group" known to psychologists, which scientists have observed among astronauts or polar explorers.

- The state of anxiety and the fact that you find yourself locked up with a person you don't really know in a small area led to the fact that conflicts were growing. People were ready to communicate normally with each other in a working environment, but if they were locked up together, they were ready to almost kill each other. This led to the fact that many families broke up, - says Alexey Roshchin.

As for how the situation will develop after the return home of all those fighting now in Ukraine, the opinions of experts are divided.

Some say that the number of marriages will decrease, and the number of divorces will increase. Last year, the number of marriages increased, but there are reasons for this.

- It jumped in the fall because people were forming relationships to receive money from the state. Now, I think, because of the new wave, there will be another jump in order to make it easier to dispose of property," says Alexey Raksha.

But there is another opinion. If the sanctions last until 2040, the economic situation will worsen and the standard of living will fall. This, oddly enough, helps strengthen the family.

- The same women will be forced to stick to some peasant, because the main factor begins to work, as two thousand years ago. It's easier to pay for the same apartment. And even if the psychos, with a broken psyche, the principle will begin to work: it's better this way than none. But it will be a very unfavorable indicator from the point of view of the general economic state. Such marriages are not what is needed for happiness," says Alexey Roshchin.

Divorce: good or evil

A happy family has been and remains the hallmark of humanity.

An unhappy family, by definition of Leo Tolstoy, has a set of problems that are solved by both people and the state.

- If we talk about society, it's not very good. Marriage imposes certain legal obligations, there is social protection for children in terms of housing and other obligations. Therefore, for fertility, for the younger generation, it is better that there are more marriages and fewer divorces. It is difficult to be brought up in a single-parent family," Dmitry Dubrov sums up.
- I believe that in the current situation, divorce is rather a blessing, that for children, if their parents are divorced, it is better for them not to see conflicts, that for a man and a woman, when they have the opportunity to create a new family, find family happiness and find children who would not be burdened in a previous marriage from- because there were constant quarrels, - Elena Churilova believes.

Traditions and public censure of divorces, especially prohibitions, lead to a decrease in the birth rate, because very often the second and third children are born in the second and subsequent marriages. Patriarchal ideology comes into conflict with demography.

Despite all the painfulness of breakups and the complexity of solving material problems, divorces in the modern world have become one of the greatest achievements of civilization, scientists say. Because every person should have freedom of choice and the opportunity to start a new life if the "old" one didn't go well.