Posted: 4/29/2001 4:04:17 PM EDT
People like these are who are really destryoing the worlds enviroment.
[b]Couple With 16 Kids Defies Russia's Population Trend[/b]
By SARAH KARUSH
.c The Associated Press
KOSTROMA, Russia (April 29) - As Russia seeks to counter its population drop, Vladimir Alexeyev, his pregnant wife and their 16 cheerful and well-behaved children could well be the poster family for a higher birth rate.
But despite a medal from the government and much attention in Russian media, the Alexeyevs are living on handouts in a cramped apartment in Kostroma, 200 miles northeast of Moscow.
Alexeyev, his wife, Nina, and 15 of their children - the eldest, 23-year-old Igor, lives on his own - share a four-room apartment with a single bathroom, which the then Soviet government allotted them 16 years ago.
The Alexeyevs, whose home is filled with Russian Orthodox icons, say their motivation is spiritual.
''Even before we were believers, we found meaning in this,'' Vladimir says.
Vladimir, 48, is unemployed and depends on donations from local businessmen to clothe and feed his family. He says the government should do more to help, and has asked regional officials to buy him a three-story brick house worth $42,000 on the outskirts of town.
Critics of the family - and there are many in this city of old wooden houses, ancient churches and potholed streets - say the Alexeyevs have received more than their share of aid.
In 1993, the regional government granted the Alexeyevs two more apartments. They sold both and with the proceeds began building a house. But the money ran out, and the house languishes unfinished.
In 1999, Russian film director Nikita Mikhalkov visited the family and left behind $17,500. Vladimir, who plans to start a farm, spent the money on tractors and a van, which he uses to take his family to church on Sundays and to earn extra cash working as a driver.
Some people question the wisdom of those purchases.
''Should he have bought a tractor or should he have spent the money on better living quarters?'' wonders Vladimir Balyberdin, head of the Kostroma region's social welfare department.
Still, Balyberdin says he is doing his best to buy the three-story house for Kostroma's biggest family. He's passed on the request to Moscow. ''The regional administration doesn't have this kind of money,'' he says.
Meanwhile, the Alexeyevs' apartment, suspended in mid-renovation, is wallpapered with newspapers, and every photograph within a 12-year-old's reach has been doctored with penciled-in mustaches, beards and eyeglasses.
The hallway, crammed with bulk bags of flour and a baby carriage, the back wheel of which is 1-year-old Ioann's favorite teething toy, is hung with wet laundry.
On a chilly spring afternoon the house is surprisingly quiet. Yaroslav, 12, Georgy, 7, Daniil, 6, and Larisa, 5, are playing with plastic building blocks, while Anastasia, 17, Viktoria, 16, and Irina, 15, look after Ioann, who waddles around the room, clapping and laughing.
The children say they get along fine in the cramped quarters, but wouldn't mind a little more space in which to play and do their homework.
Viktoria, a shy redhead, shrugs off the lack of privacy, and says she doesn't mind sleeping on the floor every night. The little ones sleep two or three to a bed.
Wrapped in a plush red bathrobe and cradling 2-year-old Tikhon in her lap, their 44-year-old mother smiles serenely as she recalls how it all started.
''I always loved children, even before I got married,'' says Nina, who is hard of hearing and converses with the help of Vladimir, who ''translates'' by shouting into her ear. ''Of course, I never thought I'd have so many.''
Think of how much food, water, and clothing a family like this needs every day. Think of how many [i]grandkids[/i] they are going to have and the amount of resources that they are going to need. Fortunately most Russians it seems have seen the light on their own. Why the government is trying to encourage people like this is beyond me. Do they thing they are going to build a giant army again like in WWII? I sure hope none of our financial aid is going to support these people or the Russian governments population growth measures.
Make no mistake, **we** will end up paying for these types of people. The bleeding hearts in Washington have been doing it for decades. I don't think they're going to get a backbone anytime soon.
It's just like the Yugoslavia mess. Why the hell didn't we just say, "OK Europe, this mess is in your yard. You clean it up."
But nooooooooo, we jad to go over there all puffed up because we're the world's babysit-, ....er, I mean leader.
wait... Um, don't alot of the families that have 7 or 8 babies all at once get alot of donations from Pampers, locals and sometimes the goverment alike? What's wrong with a little donation. Now mind I don't think that the goverment should pamper these people. With that many kids they should be out working, but it does sound like a touching story to save Russia's dying country. Belive me, what would you rather have: More Russians or more Chinese. Pick your favorite, because it's gotta be one or the other.
Ya know, all this worry about population explosion is waaaaaaaaaaay overrated.
Population in most first-world countries is actually RECEDING -- if it weren't for immigration, the american population would be in DECLINE. The problem is a few backwards places like India and China.
Get rid of government handouts, but hell, if people want to have thirty kids, and they can support them all, more power to 'em.