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Russian 'Romance Register' Could Force Couples to Get Serious After One Year

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A new legislative proposal will enable Russians to register their relationship if they have been living together for a year, RIA Novosti reports.

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Relations between boyfriends and girlfriends across Russia are about to get serious, if a new proposal to force them to register their relationships becomes law.

According to RIA Novosti, civil organizations in several Russian regions are campaigning for a change in the law which would compel people in a romantic relationship, who have been living together for at least one year, to register their relationship with the local authorities. 

"Every year, the number of unregistered marriages rises. In fact, we don't have statistics on them, since they are not registered in any way. Of course, we can't force people to go to the registry office, but  we have to force them to register civil marriages," the proposal's organizers told RIA Novosti on April 1.

The campaigners believe there are a range of benefits to the proposal. For example, it would strengthen familial relationships and enable law enforcement to better investigate criminal activity.

"The police often have to prove the connection between two people where there isn't any documented proof of any relationship. If this law passes, then just checking a database will allow them to see who is seeing who, so to speak," they said.

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Professor of Social Sciences Vitaliy Solomatin told Radio Sputnik that as well as simplifying the work of local authorities, the new measures would actually encourage young people to be more responsible as well.

"Young people, not only here but across the world, are taking less and less responsibility. At first glance this isn't a significant problem, but that's not the case – in fact  the whole of society suffers as a result," Solomatin warned.

"People need to re-learn how to take decisions on important issues such as raising a family," he added.

A spokesman for anti-corruption investigators welcomed the move. He said it would make it easier to investigate attempted tax avoidance.

"With this new law in place, we'll be able to go through the family accounts more easily, and married men who are spending more than their salary allows them on jewelry and fur coats, perhaps for their lovers, will be brought to justice very easily," he said.

If the law does go through, the one year anniversary may well be spent not in a restaurant or nightclub, but in the lush environment of a local administrative office. 

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