Russians are considering an increase to the divorce tax by some 7500% (from $13-$941 US) according to Forbes.com’s tax girl Kelly Phillips-Erb. The plan could render 19 billion rubles ($595 million US).
Another, seemingly contradictory, purpose: limit the number of people paying the tax by keeping couples together. Social scientists note that divorce decreases the fertility rate. While Russia’s demographic decline is well known, its divorce rate is also high at 54%, worse than the US rate which stood at 41% in 2011, according to Erb.
And a divorce tax is also aimed at raising the level of public morality more generally. Says Erb:
In addition to raising revenue, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has another consideration: growing conservative values. Making divorce more difficult, Medvedev reasons, makes it less likely that Russians will rush into marriage without thinking about it a little more beforehand. It may well work: the proposed tax would be more than the average monthly salary in Russia.
It’s all part of the rush to morality for the country over the past few months, including a ban on homosexual “propaganda” authored by Yelena Mizulina, the head of the Committee on Family, Women and Children in the Russian Parliament. Mizulina is also at the forefront of the divorce tax, meant to stifle Russia’s “moral and demographic decline.” Mizulina’s colleague, Olga Batalina, made it clear that “a family is a marriage between a man and a woman with children, preferably at least three.”