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Russia (and Soviet Union)

  • By: Natalia Chernyayeva
  • In: Encyclopedia of Motherhood
  • Edited by: Andrea O'Reilly
  • Subject:Sociology of Gender, Parenting, Maternal Health

Notions of what constitute socially and culturally appropriate maternal behavior underwent a tremendous change in Russia during the 20th century, as they were closely tied to the country's stormy political history. Following the rapid socioeconomic transformation of the country from predominantly agrarian to industrial by the second half of the 20th century, the models of motherhood and mothering have changed from the agricultural to the industrial type as well.

Agricultural Model

Peasants' reproductive behavior followed the patterns of universal marriage and natural marital fertility, resulting in a total fertility rate of 10 to 12 children per woman over her lifetime, which was among the highest in Europe. Since much of the labor-producing family subsistence was located on the land, each mother's farm work was indispensable to the ...

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