Sanctions against Russia have played into the hands of family planning critics
Russians should not be concerned that a pack of condoms in a pharmacy now costs $3, a spokesman for the Russian Orthodox Church has said, noting that traditional sexual morality is the best protection from disease and death.
State Duma deputy Sultan Khamzaev made headlines on Tuesday, after complaining to the federal antitrust agency about the price of “rubber product number two” at pharmacies. Almost all the brands on sale are Western and the standard three-pack of condoms now sells for over 300 rubles ($3.39), he said.
“It is a monstrous lie that promiscuity, in combination with contraception, is the path to happiness,” the Moscow Patriarchate spokesman Vakhtang Kipshidze told reporters, reacting to Khamzaev’s complaint. “In fact, this is a path to suffering and death, regardless of whether the price of contraceptives is high or low.”
Marriage and marital fidelity are the best protection from sexually transmitted diseases, Kipshidze added, but the “consumerist society creates a false illusion that sexual promiscuity can be safe.” He described as “self-destructive” the widespread model of sexual behavior “in which another person becomes nothing more than a situational means for satisfying lust.”
Khamzaev is a socially conservative lawmaker from the the Republic of Dagestan in the Caucasus, and a member of the ruling United Russia party. Earlier this month, he made headlines by proposing that Russia pay women who wanted to have abortions to give birth instead, so their unwanted children could become wards of the state.
According to Khamzaev, 95% of the condoms on the Russian market are made by foreign companies, mainly the UK-based multinational Reckitt Benckiser, makers of Durex.
Elena Nevolina, executive director of the Russian national pharmacy association, has blamed the growing price of condoms on the increase in costs of production and shipping from Europe – most of which has imposed an embargo on Russia over the Ukraine conflict – and the “unstable exchange rate” of the ruble, likewise targeted by US and EU sanctions.