Russian model of family relations is nor very often discussed outside Russia. They are normally lightened only when something outrageous happens. In general family relations in Russia are supposed to be a bit archaic, a bit patriarchal and very much male-oriented.
Here I would like to give a general impression of what is the model of family relations in Russia. Please note, that I will not be talking now about role of woman in social life, harassment matters etc. Not because I find them non important, but because they deserve separate additional discussion.
When talking about a model of family relations in Russia, I am forced to admit, that there is not very much to tell. Because, the more I travel around the globe, the more I come to an opinion, that national peculiar properties of the model of relations between people is very much overvalued. They are more or less the same here, there and everywhere.
The general rule was perfectly formulated by a worldwide famous Russian writer Lev Tolstoy:
“All the happy families are happy in a similar way, each unhappy family is unhappy in it’s own way”
No need to say that there are particular features depending on social, cultural and religious matters.
But still the rule remains: the families which are based on mutual love and respect are the same in all the times and places.
But if we speak about general features of the Russia family model, we have to stress that it is rather conservative, and it relates to the regions with different religions. Traditional role game still influence relations within families: men are considered to be defenders and breadwinners, women as keepers of home. And it doesn’t matter if a woman is earning more than her husband: for her it is supposed to be a kind of hobby, for him – responsibility.
Of course, attitude of Russian women is transforming with time, and there is a number of them who put emphasis on career, especially in big cities. But the general attitude is that family life is necessary for female happiness. (by the way I agree that it is also a case for a male happiness).
No need to say, that same sex marriage is considered as a kind of joke in Russia, and absolutely no way to see it as a legal possibility in the nearest time. You may like it or not, but that is the case.
In the recent years, we meet the situation when young people to not marry even after long relations. The situation in itself doesn’t look as a big problem, but in such relation they normally do not have children. And demographic situation is quite a problem in Russia.
In 90-s the population of Russia sharply decreased. The mortality exceeded birth 1.5 times! That was mostly due to the general deep crisis in the country. But also due to, as we call it, demographic waves of the war. During the war more than 20 million people died, most of them in a fertile age, and that loss influence demographic situation in cyclic waves of 15-20 years each.
In any case, starting from 2010 the situation started to improve. And in 2016 we even saw an increase in population. Partially it was a result of general improvement of the situation in Russia, partially due to the measures taken by the authorities to stimulate birth. Initially, subsidies were given to families upon birth of a second child. Starting from current year the subsidies are given also for the first child. The amount of them is about 1.5 average annual salary. The money is for specific purpose only (to buy a house, to finance education etc.), use of them on other purpose is strictly prohibited and constitute a criminal case. A system of state perinatal clinics is improving constantly.
Thus, on the surface, the situation looks rather optimistic, but there is a problem inside the statistics. Increase of population was also due to a sufficient migration, mostly of people of the former Soviet Union and mostly from Asia. At the moment Russian families normally have 1-2 children, sometimes 3, having more is an outstanding case. While in asiatic families 4-5-6 children is a normal situation.
Well, the situation seems to be typical for most of the European countries. The difference is that in our case migration is mostly coming from new countries, which used to form the same country together with us. We are linked with the same language and remnants of the same wold view. Also the difference is that in Russia people are not so much concerned about the political correctness, thus attitude is more openly expressed, and relations between migrants and indigenous people are closer to the nature.