MOSCOW (CBSDFW.COM/CNN) – A senior Russian lawmaker has called upon her fellow countrywomen to not have sex with foreign men who are visiting the country during the 2018 World Cup, saying that Russian women “should give birth to our own.”
In a radio interview, Tamara Pletnyova, chairperson of the Duma committee on families, women and children, explained that she was concerned about a rise in single mothers.
Ahead of the tournament, which kicks off in Moscow on Thursday with host Russia taking on Saudi Arabia, Pletnyova said that Russian citizens should exclusively marry each other and “build a good family, live together, give birth to children and educate them.”
Pletnyova was responding to a question about a spike in births from foreign fathers following the 1980 Moscow Olympics, an era in Soviet Russia when contraception was much less readily available. “These children then suffer and have suffered, even from Soviet times,” she said.
“You know this perfectly well,” Pletnyova continued with her response. “It’s fine if they’re one race, but not if they’re from a different race. I’m not a nationalist, but still, I know the children suffer. Then, they get abandoned and that’s it. They stay with their mom here.”
Pletnyova’s press office said that the lawmaker did not plan to make further comments.
Another legislator made similar remarks to the same radio station on Wednesday, according to a transcript released by the station. Alexander Sherin, a member of the Duma defense committee, explained that massive sporting events “are always a favorable background for the spread of infectious diseases.”
“When it comes to the fact that people come from all over the world, from different climatic zones, they cannot adapt so well, and they can become aggravated by diseases,” Sherin added. “Maybe the body of a European will somehow react to contact with people from other continents.”
Sherin also expressed concern about Western fans, that they might “spread around some kinds of narcotic substances.”
Up to 1 million fans from the 31 other competing countries — Russia qualified automatically by being the host nation — and beyond are expected to descend on Russia’s capital of Moscow during the month-long tournament, the organizers predict. Tourists will also be visiting 10 other host cities in the country for a total of 64 matches.
The World Cup will come to North America in 2026.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)