As the 2018 FIFA World Cup gets underway in Moscow, Russia, a senior lawmaker offered a stark warning to local women about having sex with foreign men visiting for the event.
According to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Tamara Pletnyova — who oversees the Family, Women, and Children Affairs Committee in the lower house of parliament — made the inflammatory comments in an interview with a Moscow radio station.
As hundreds of thousands of fans are expected to flood several Russian cities for the highly-anticipated world soccer tournament, Pletnyova warned against women sleeping with men from other countries and potentially becoming single mothers.
She said that children of single mothers “suffer and have suffered, even since Soviet times." She went on to suggest that if women do get pregnant during this time, it would be ideal for the father to be “of the same race.”
"If it's another race, then it's even worse," Pletnyova said. "We should give birth to our own children. I'm not a nationalist, but nonetheless. I know that the children suffer as well, and then they are abandoned and stay here with the mother."
She explained that even if Russian women end up marrying the foreign men who impregnate them, they may end up going abroad with their new spouse and, essentially, become stranded with no knowledge of how to get home.
"Then they come to me at the committee and cry that the child was taken away, removed, and so forth. I would like people to get married based on love in our country, regardless of which ethnicity, [to] Russian citizens who would build a good family, live in harmony, have children, and raise them," she said.
Twitter had some choice words for the crass lawmaker and her controversial statements.
Feel like nothing good has ever followed the words "I'm not a nationalist but..."— Tennessee Grimes (@10ehC) June 13, 2018
Russian MP Tamara Pletnyova (from the Duma family issues committee) has advised Russian women not to get intimate with foreigners during World Cup. "We should give birth to our own babies. I'm not a nationalist, but still..." I suspect local ladies won't be asking her permission— Steve Rosenberg (@BBCSteveR) June 13, 2018
Just to clarify, she's concerned about Russian girls getting pregnant and becoming single parents when their baby daddies go back home. Perhaps she could have talked about the virtues of contraception, but I suppose 'stay away from all foreigners' works just as well— Katie Davies (@katiedavies91) June 13, 2018
Pletnyova said about passing the restrictions on LGBT people in Russia, "such sick people exist, I guess those people with abnormalities have always existed", compared LGBT people to pedophiles, talked about the rights of husbands to beat their wives... The list goes on.— Mark Mola (@markbairden) June 13, 2018
Ughhhh. Would be interesting to see if she’s forced to issue an apology eventually, the World Cup being a prestige event and all. Or am I being optimistic. https://t.co/Eil0Jc810M— Natalia Antonova (@NataliaAntonova) June 13, 2018
Obviously, her statements are incredibly problematic. Not only do her remarks come across as racist, but they are just downright tasteless. Who is she to regulate what women do with their bodies and whom they do it with?
She may be the chairwoman of a committee that handles family-related issues, but it is not her responsibility to tell citizens who they should or should not be intimate with.