Moscow, January 13, Interfax - The head of the patriarch's commission on family affairs, Archpriest Dimitry Smirnov, has criticized plans to reduce the marriageable age which are being discussed.
"It's a step toward pedophilia. Now you get a prison term for molesting a 16-year-old girl, and then [if the marriageable age is lowered] no, she can legally get married. It's perfectly clear," the priest said on the radio station Radonezh, responding to listeners' questions.
He said the reason why young people have "adult" relations earlier now is that the peoples of Russia no longer adhere to traditional moral values. "The Caucasus or South Caucasus are a different thing - there, [a girl's] brothers will simply stab you [...] And here people have no control whatsoever, there are no traditions, girls will stamp their feet in the heels their mothers bought them [...] and say 'I want to do it, it's my life, I have a right, you're all terrorists, extremists', etc.," Father Dimitry said.
At the same time, he said that girls of some nations mature very early and a marriageable age "can well be set" for them at 16. However, in the rest of Russia girls should not get married before 18, he said.
"And I would not allow guys [to marry] before they turn 21 because they don't have any principles in their heads yet," the priest said.
The government plans to consider amendments to the Russian Family Code changing the marriageable age in December. In particular, the list of grounds on which people younger than 18 can get married will be adjusted.