Vladimir Putin, who traditionally marks International Women’s Day by sending a warm message to Russian women across the world, says he still remains perplexed as to how they find the time to raise families.
“You care day and night for your children, grandchildren and your family,” the Russian president said in his annual statement. “Even today, on International Women’s Day, you are still caught up in your routine, working tirelessly, always on time. We often ask ourselves, how do they manage it all?”
The president’s curiosity has been piqued by a day he described in 2008 as one “for celebrating goodness, wisdom, beauty and spiritual strength.” The congratulatory message, which seems to get more whimsical every year, usually thanks Russian women for their service to families and their steadfast support to support the country.
Last year, Putin spoke of the “mysterious power” women possess, adding, “you keep up with everything, juggle a myriad of tasks, and yet remain tender, unforgettable and full of charm. You bring goodness and beauty, hope and light into this world. We are proud of you and we love you.”
In 2015, Putin referred to what he described as a well-known expression to emphasize how women provide the foundation for their children’s wellbeing: “to drink it in with your mother’s milk.” He added that “the sense of individual self-awareness and first skills in interacting with the world around us are things we learn from women. We have many fine words about mothers and it is not by chance that we say that ‘Nothing is more sacred than a mother,’ and that we compare our mothers to our homeland.”
Putin’s latest musings come as his government’s commitment to women’s rights faces new scrutiny. Last month, he signed a law that decriminalized some forms of domestic violence. “Moderate” violence within families was reduced to an administrative offense. And a separate proposal that would provide restraining orders and other safeguards for women has stalled in the Russian parliament.