MOSCOW, May 10 (RIA Novosti) - A demographic crisis is the most serious problem facing Russia today, President Vladimir Putin said in his annual state of the nation address Wednesday.
Putin said child benefit should be raised from 800 rubles to 1,500 rubles ($55), and that mothers should be paid 3,000 ($110) for their second child.
He said the Russian government had been dragging its feet in this sphere, adding that he had raised the problem in his state of the nation address last year.
"The program has only just been drafted," Putin said.
He said the country's socio-economic development was closely linked with its demographic situation, identifying three ways of dealing with the problem: Reducing mortality rates, increasing births, and following an effective migration policy.
"It now only remains to translate all of this into reality," he said.