Divorce rate in Soviet Union soars


MOSCOW -- The Soviet Union's divorce rate is showing an 'alarming increase,' with only 37 percent of marriages surviving three years and 70 percent breaking up within a decade, the Moskovskaya Pravda newspaper said Sunday.

The number of divorces has risen from 636,200 in 1981 to nearly 1 million in 1983, the last year for which full statistics for divorce and marriage are available, the report said.


According to the 1983 figures, seven of 10 marriages break up before their 10th anniversary and only 37 percent of marriages survived three years or more, the newspaper said.

By comparison, the overall divorce rate in the United States was about 50 percent in 1985, according to recent statistics.

The Soviet report said there appeared to be a steady climb in divorce in the past three years although there are no official statistics to prove it.

'Sociologists are very concerned over this alarming increase in figures. Keeping a young family together is not a simple thing,' the newspaper said.

In previous reports drunkeness has been the prime reason for divorce but Moskovskaya Pravda said the major problem today is lack of money.

Other reasons are youth and immaturity, the lack of housing and privacy for newlyweds and the inability of young couples to vacation together because of conflicting work schedules, it said.


Only one in three married couples start life in their own apartments with the vast majority forced to share small rooms with parents and in-laws, the newspaper said.

'More than 28 percent of bridegrooms are under the age of 22. Many of these young couples refuse offers of help from their parents. Another problem is the impossibility of having holidays together because they are not given leave from work at the same time,' the newspaper said.

In the Soviet Union, workers are often told when to take vacation and have no choice on dates. If a husband and wife work in different jobs, the designated holiday periods often do not coincide.

One way to eliminate the problem is to make divorce more difficult, the newspaper said.

'It is necessary to make divorce more intricate. It would help stop this easygoing process of 'let's go get married and then let's go and part,'' it said.

Divorce, especially in cases of childless couples, is relatively easy in the Soviet Union.

The cost for filing for divorce ranges from $70 to $280, depending on the couple's income.

No court hearing is necessary if both parties agree to the divorce and no children are involved. The divorce, after a government mediated attempt at reconciliation, can be granted within days of the initial petition.


The newspaper said more effort should be put into forming clubs for young marrieds where they can discuss their problems with other couples who might be facing the same difficulties.

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