A Russian lawmaker on Wednesday urged women to think twice about having casual relationships with foreigners as fans flock to the country to watch the World Cup.
Tamara Pletnyova, the head of a parliamentary committee on family matters, told a Russian radio station that women should be vigilant during any romantic encounters with foreigners so as to not end up raising children alone.
“There probably will be girls who will meet [foreign fans] and have children,” Pletnyova said. “Maybe there will be such girls or maybe not, I hope, maybe they will think better of it.”
She went further to say that she’s received complaints from some Russian women who have moved out of the country after marrying foreigners and eventually lost custody of their children.
“I would like to see people in our country to get married for love. It doesn't matter what nationality they are [as long as] they are Russian citizens,” Pletnyova said. “I want to see them build good families, live in harmony, have children and raise them, this is what I would like to see.”
Pletnyova’s comments were not the first regarding the idea of foreigners and Russian citizens engaging in casual relationships during the tournament.
In May, sports journalists in Argentina who were preparing to travel for the tournament were given a package that included a “flirting manual” on “how to have a chance with a Russian girl.”
Photos – shared by a journalist attending a free course on Russian culture set up by the Argentine Football Association – quickly went viral after they were mocked online. The AFA confirmed the controversial “manual” was real, but that it shouldn’t have been included in the package given to journalists.
Thousands of fans are heading to Russia for the tournament, which kicks off Thursday when the Russian squad takes on Saudi Arabia. FIFA said it sold $2.5 million tickets for the event, including 870,000 tickets in Russia alone. Most of the visitors are men.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.