Making Children a Priority in the World

Making Children a Priority in the World

Postby Leo Semashko » Wed Sep 14, 2005 2:18 am

Dear site co-authors, friends and colleagues!

On the anniversary of the unprecedented Beslan tragedy I send you my open letter to President of Russian Federation Vladimir Putin with an appeal: Making Children a Priority in Russia. I count it as my moral and civil duty.
I will be very grateful to you for your responses and opinions.

To: President of Russian Federation
Mr. Vladimir Putin

Making Children a Priority in Russia

Dear Mr. Vladimir Putin!

On the anniversary of the unprecedented Beslan tragedy, which carried away the lives of 186 children, I count it as my moral and civil duty to address you with an appeal: Making Children a Priority in Russia. It is necessary for practically all aspects of the nation’s development and transformation into a developed country. But, primarily, it is necessary for the prevention of similar tragedies in the future, for the strengthening and development of family, for the formation in future generation of a culture that is immune from terrorism about which you spoke on September 13, 2004, for overcoming the political apathy of our youth, for making the children’s sphere a budgetary priority thereby ensuring a new quality basic, human, resource, that can only grow from our children. You see, from this resource, the prosperity and socio-economic development of the country depends first of all. Making children a priority is the most effective way of stating Russia’s civil society and social state, reinforcing positive image of Russia and establishing its new peaceful role in the world.

The Beslan tragedy was not accidental. It became possible as one of many consequences of the plight of children in our country and the unworthy relationship of the state to our youngest citizens. I shall remind you of only some, the most shocking, facts from the children’s sphere which includes their families, educational establishments, public health services, rest, sport and leisure and together with their parents, grandparents, teachers, doctors and other caregivers, covers up to 70 % of the country’s population. In Russia 45 % of families with children have incomes below the living wage (Arguments and Facts, 49, 2003: all references are from this source below). That means that almost half of the children, about 20 million, live in poverty, eat poorly, are frequently sick, attend inferior schools and have very little chance of attending a university. This trend, unfortunately, does not improve and is aggravated, by the new data confirming that 60 % of the country’s population is poor (AaF, 33, 2005).

Other facts: In 2003 fires at two schools resulted in the burning deaths of about 50 children, and in a university’s hostel about 40 younger students. In 2004, in Beslan, 186 children were killed in a terrorist act. In 2005, five children were burned in Krasnoyarsk. More facts: In answer to a question, what you would like to see for your child, 45 % of the parents were at a loss to answer (AaF, 46, 2003). That means, that almost half of parents do not think about their children, the children’s destiny and their responsibility for them. It means, not only the state, but also society, is appreciably indifferent to children. The youth have no incentive to have children therefore the death-rate in the country steadily exceeds the birth rate, which means the slow extinction of the nation.

More facts: "In Russia up to 2000 children perish annually at the hands of their own moms and dads." (AaF, 29, 2005). "Out of hopelessness or alcoholism thousands of Russian children are either killed or abandoned by their mothers annually. In our children’s homes about 40 thousand children suffer from a terror of the adults. Why do we not mourn as bitterly as the victims of Beslan, Russian children becoming invalids from the cruelty of their own parents, from chronic underfeeding, from childhood tuberculosis mowing down young life in the crude and cold barracks which have remained with us from Stalin’s times?" (AaF, 31, 2005). "Each year approximately 15 thousand children leave the children’s homes. Out of these, 5 thousand end up in prison during the first year. Five thousand enter the ranks of the homeless and 1.5 thousand finish life by suicide" (AaF, 30, 2005). "In the Yaroslavl correctional house - boarding school for mentally retarded are 30 children - orphans. They begin to smoke at three years, to drink – at four, and they live by the laws of the jungle." (AaF, 33, 2005). In another children’s home "teenagers are held naked in the punishment room for one month" (AaF, 24, 2005).

Your councillor, Anatoly Pristavkin, testifies: "Today on streets are thrown out, by some accounts, 4-5 million children from 10 to 15 years old. This means in five years we will have the same number of criminals. It is a criminal nursery! The present situation is catastrophic. It’s not that the children are worse, it is society that has lowered the standard of meanness" (AaF, 20, 2005). In response to Pristavkin’s article there is this figure: "each year the number of children who have stayed without care of their parents is increased by 110 thousand" (AaF, 27, 2005). I summarized only some facts and only from one edition. Actually, similar examples are much worse. Through them appears the shape of an antihuman system, hostile to childhood, cherished (fostered) by a communistic regime and remaining with us even now.

How do we overcome this system, menacing to a nation, which kills and ruins the children of the country, its young generations, depriving Russia of hopes for a healthy and prosperous future? Certainly attention is given to children in this country but it is not enough to enable them to grow into productive citizens. To break the "meanness of society", the unworthy attitude of the state towards children and to turn the tendency of residual financing of the children’s sphere around and make it a priority, it is necessary, first of all, to establish the socio-cultural and politico-legal institute of children’s suffrage executed by parents. This institute is based on the appropriate law. It will democratically ensure that the children of Russia will be a priority in society, both in the family and in the state. (We should note that making children a social priority is not a new idea; it was proclaimed in different forms and cultures by many scientists, writers and public figures: Dmitry Mendeleyev, Janusz Korczak, Mahatma Gandhi, Elmar Sokolov, Cardinal Gustaaf Joss, Nobel Peace Laureates and others).

Certainly, this law is only the first step, but a key step, to making children a priority in our country, a reality which is only achievable to the fullest extent in a long-term perspective. The initial project for Russia is prepared (it is published in our with Martha Ross DeWitt book Children’s Suffrage…, St-Petersburg, 2004, on Russian) and waits for wide scientific research and public discussion. This will not begin, in view of the large political and social importance of the theme, without your approval. In the West this idea has been actively discussed since 1991. Your presidency could be marked as a turning point in history and the salvation of the country by taking this step for children. It will be supported by the majority and best part of the population. The Stabilization Fund could be used for this purpose.

Children’s suffrage executed by parents puts the priority of children in place of the priority of money. Priority will be given not to those who has much money but to those who have children or are engaged with them. Children are an incomparably more important resource than money. Children are not only our future but also part of the present. Only children’s suffrage can ensure making children a priority in the present.

The institute of children’s suffrage executed by parents was submitted by me to two International Congresses: International Institute of Sociology in Beijing in July 2004 and "Childhoods 2005" in Oslo in July 2005, and also in my books Tetrasociology: Responses to Challenges (2002), Tetrasociology: Multicultural Dialogue … (2003, with 14 coauthors), Children’s Suffrage… (2004, in the co-authorship with Martha Ross DeWitt), and in articles on this theme in the Journals Telescope (2005, № 2) and Star (2005, № 9, in the co-authorship with the writer V.V.Kavtorin), and in the several foreign publications.

In the world the appeal Making Children a Priority was born. For the first time it was sounded in Hilarie Roseman’s letter, a mother of 8 children and grandmother of 12 grandchildren from Australia, which on May 25, 2005 was sent to the Prime Minister Mr. John Howard with the appeal Making Children a Priority in Australia. Then, a similar letter to the President of USA Mr. George Bush was written by the mother of three children and grandmother of two, Rose Lord from USA with the appeal Making Children a Priority in USA and to head the appropriate global civil movement. These letters are published on page 8-3 of our International Website A New Culture of Peace as Harmony, which unites more than 80 authors from 18 countries. Similar letters prepare in a number of other countries, which form a basis for the new Global Civil Movement Making Children a Priority in the World.

Russia could occupy a leading place in this movement if it will not lose time and will be the initiator of research, discussion and inculcation of children’s suffrage executed by parents. Such an initiative will essentially improve the international image of Russia; just as the image of Sweden has substantially improved since 1979 when it was the first country in the world to pass the anti-spanking law forbidding parents to use corporal punishment on their children. Sweden can be proud before the face of the world and a shining example. Russia has a similar chance to get rid of her negative image created by corruption, the international Russian Mafia, etc. You see, the aforementioned law, adapted by every culture and civilization in the multi-polar world of an information society of the 21st century, will form the basis for a new order of social harmony, preventing wars, terrorism and poverty. Such an initiative gives you the opportunity to become the Nobel Peace Laureate in future years. This initiative will find support by the UN, UNICEF and other International organizations and the political leaders from other countries.

Such is our (my and my adherents in the world) vital appeal (Making Children a Priority in Russia) to you, because we understand, that the solution to modern problems of peace, sustainable development and children, closely connected among themselves in our country and in the world, in many aspects will depend on your kind political will.

With deep respect,
Sincerely yours,

Leo Semashko

P.S. The basic ideas of this letter are supported in St.-Petersburg: writer Vladimir Kavtorin, Professors Nina Litvinova, George Toulchinsky and others.

P.P.S. The responses to this letter are published on the page 7-6 ( and on the Forum of our International site "A New Culture of Peace from Harmony" ( in the theme "Making Children a Priority in the World". The new responses will be added to them.

The Letter address on our site: ... akchildpr/

With deep respect and best regards,

Leo M. Semashko

State Councillor of St. Petersburg, Ph.D., A/Professor, Director, Public Institute of Strategic Sphere (Tetrasociological) Studies; Website Director, IFLAC Delegate in Russia; Member of Advisory Board, Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies; Member of the International Sociological Association
7/4-42 Ho-Shi-Min Street, St. Petersburg 194356, Russia.
Tel 7 (812) 513-3863 * E-mail:
Last edited by Leo Semashko on Wed Sep 14, 2005 2:51 am, edited 1 time in total.
Leo Semashko
Site Admin
Posts: 59
Joined: Sun Feb 20, 2005 6:56 pm

Postby Svetlana Vetrova » Wed Sep 14, 2005 2:36 am

Dear Leo!
I have read the letter to the President Putin. In my opinion all is stated correctly and concretely. I hope very much that it will find the serious response! I join to you both words and deeds.
With respect,
Svetlana Vetrova
Petersburg bard and chief of preschools club "Umnitsa" in St.-Petersburg
September 3, 2005
Svetlana Vetrova

Postby Leo Semashko » Wed Sep 14, 2005 2:39 am

Dear Svetlana!
I am very grateful to you for kind words and support. I think your hope as the mothers of two children would become more powerful if you have found possible yourself to write the letter to the President with a similar appeal "Making Children a Priority in Russia" from your point of view as it was made by the mothers from Australia and USA having written the appropriate letters to the leaders. The more similar civil addresses will be, both mothers and fathers, the faster our appeal will be embodied in life.
Best harmony wishes,
September 7, 2005
Leo Semashko
Site Admin
Posts: 59
Joined: Sun Feb 20, 2005 6:56 pm

Postby Dr Bernard Scott » Wed Sep 14, 2005 2:41 am

Well done, Leo. The letter is very powerfully expressed.
Best wishes,
Dr Bernard Scott, England
September 5, 2005
Dr Bernard Scott

Postby Dr Bernard Phillips » Wed Sep 14, 2005 2:43 am

Dear Leo,
Your letter is, in my view, both moving and intellectually sound. I completely support it. I had no idea that conditions for children were so terrible and getting worse, in Russia. What encourages me is your own commitment to solving this and other problems, despite those conditions.
Best wishes,
Dr Bernard Phillips, USA
September 5, 2005
Dr Bernard Phillips

Postby Dr Martha Ross DeWitt » Wed Sep 14, 2005 2:44 am

Dear Leo,
A powerful message, sure to be well received. You have "seized the moment." I am honored to be your associate. The economic benefits of putting children first (before military priorities and industrial development) must be bolded, before financial interests will subscribe. This will be the challenge in the West, where 10% of the population controls 90% of the wealth.
Warm regards,
Dr Martha Ross DeWitt, USA
September 5, 2005
Dr Martha Ross DeWitt

Postby Professor Francisco Gomes » Wed Sep 14, 2005 2:45 am

Dear Leo,
I wholeheartedly endorse your cogent letter. In fact, I think your plea should be expanded, so that the whole world can prioritize children. Right now, I’m exercising my privilege as a (re)newed grandfather: my wife Helen and I have a granddaughter, Marina. We had two grandsons, Marcus Vinícius and Mário Victor. Now, we have three grandchildren. What a blessing! How about you, Leo?
Professor Francisco Gomes de Matos, Brazil
September 5, 2005
Professor Francisco Gomes

Postby Prof. Ada Aharoni » Wed Sep 14, 2005 2:46 am

Dear Leo,
I congratulate you again for your brave and true letter to President Vladimir Putin. I have sent it too to our IFLAC PAVE PEACE Digest, and am sure all our members have greatly appreciated it. May the call of "Children First" be heard all over our global village.
Prof. Ada Aharoni, IFLAC President, Israel
September 5, 2005
Prof. Ada Aharoni

Postby Hilarie_Roseman » Wed Sep 14, 2005 2:48 am

Dear Leo,
Congratulations on your letter. I am very glad that your letter has received such acclaim. It will not only be the attention of Mr. Putin that will gain it credence, but also all those people who read it on IFLAC's website, and other websites. I wonder if children are a priority anywhere in the world. Some new research work has been done in Australia by the Australian Family Association. The executive summary starts off: "On the occasion of President George W. Bush's visit to Australia, John Howard declared that 'strong families are a nantion's greatest asset'. Yet, since he became Prime Minister in March 1996, the marriage rate amongst young adults in Australia has plummeted and the overall level of partnering has significantly declined. Only a decade or so ago, the great majority of young men and women aged 30 - 34 were married and thus likely to have established a secure relationship conducive to the raising of a family. This is no longer the case. In 1986, 72 per cent of women aged 30-34 and 65 per cent of men aged 30-34 were married. By 2001, the comparable figures were 55 per cent for women, and just 47 per cent for men." Congratulations again - I feel that this time you are well on your way. I smile a bit, thinking of me in this most isolated of spots - surrounded almost by water - and having my name in a letter to such a large man as Mr. Vladimir Putin!
Love, Hilarie
Artist, poet and scientist Hilarie Roseman, Australia
September 5, 2005

Postby Leo Semashko » Wed Sep 14, 2005 2:53 am

Dear Martha, Ada, Rose, Hilarie, Bernard, Francisco and Bernie!
I am very grateful to you for the congratulations and warm words of support! I am especially grateful Ada for publication of the letter in the IFLAC Digest. Our appeal "Making Children a Priority in the World", with which have acted Hilarie, Rose and I, would not be outside of a context of peaceful and scientific cooperation with all of you. We shall be happy if someone from you will join to this appeal having written the appropriate letter to the leader of your country. Each such letter is a corner stone for a new history and culture of harmonious peace on the Earth. The more people will be written such letters the faster this history and culture will come.
Best peace and harmony wishes,
September 6, 2005
Leo Semashko
Site Admin
Posts: 59
Joined: Sun Feb 20, 2005 6:56 pm

Postby Prof. Araken Barbosa » Wed Sep 14, 2005 2:55 am

Dear Leo,
Congratulations for your remarkable and brave letter to President Vladimir Putin. I really admire and appreciate your brave attitude towards such an unmatched deed. I hope that soon the World will hear your significant call of "Children First".
I also take this opportunity to send you a poem. I hope you like it. It is an acrostic. (Vertical reading).

Relax your

Each of Your
Every one
Thank you again and accept my warmest thoughts of harmony and Peace
Araken Barbosa, Professor of Philology, Brazil
September 6, 2005
Prof. Araken Barbosa

Postby Leo Semashko » Wed Sep 14, 2005 2:57 am

Dear Araken,
I very much like your congratulations, hope and remarkable poem, which I shall publish on our site. (From my point of view your poem will be more adequate and appropriate to “Harmonious peace” on a vertical if in it a word "Nothingness" to replace by a word "Nobleness".) I think our appeal "Children First" will be heard faster if you join to it your poetic vote from Brasil, having written the appropriate letter to your President. Also, I very much would like your translation on Portuguese my letter.
Best harmonious wishes,
September 7, 2005
Leo Semashko
Site Admin
Posts: 59
Joined: Sun Feb 20, 2005 6:56 pm

Postby Prof. Rudolf Siebert » Wed Sep 14, 2005 2:59 am

Dear Leo:
Thank you for writing the letter to your President. You are a wise and courageous scholar. You have translated the love for children as we can find it in the original sacred writings of Judaism, Christianity and Islam into the secular discourse of the expert cultures and even into the dimension of political action. Insofar as the world religions and secular humanists agree concerning the love of children -the Rabbis call them little Messiahs - we have the beginning of a global ethos, which can give direction also to political and economic actions, which need it most.
By the way, I have just celebrated the arrival of my 13th grandchild in New York: Ryan! Please, look up my new website: . You know you and all your friends have a standing invitation to our international course in Yalta: "Religion and Civil Society: Discourse rather than Collision among the Civilizations," from October 26 to 28, 2005.
Best wishes, your
Rudi from the House of Shalom
Rudolf Siebert, Professor of Religion, USA
September 7, 2005
Prof. Rudolf Siebert

Postby Leo Semashko » Wed Sep 14, 2005 3:02 am

Dear Rudi,
I congratulate you with the 13th grandchild Ryan and I hope that he will live in a new history and culture of harmonious peace, based on a priority of children, excluding war, terror, poverty and other social disasters! Many thanks for your kind and flatter for me words of support. You wisely have noticed, that children in the original sacred writings of Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism and Islam admit as sacred coming from the God. Unfortunately, the people have not understood it yet. Our appeal "Making Children a Priority in the World" lays a way for overcoming this injustice and for the statement of social priority for children as continuation of divine priority on the Earth. We invite you to join your wise vote of the Religion Professor to our appeal and to write the appropriate letter to your President. Your religious confirmation of the children priority will be very powerful for the believers and for the political figures. It will be your practical contribution of the religious Professor to development of a civil society and multicultural dialogue of civilizations.
I have looked your new site. It makes deep impression. I admire with your service to universal values of religions. I thank you for the invitation to your very interesting and important Conference but, unfortunately, I can not arrive on it of absence of money. I wish the success to you and your Conference.
Best harmony wishes,
September 7, 2005
Leo Semashko
Site Admin
Posts: 59
Joined: Sun Feb 20, 2005 6:56 pm

Letter for priority to children

Postby Takis Ioannides » Mon Feb 20, 2006 12:17 pm

Dear leo,
your letter is powerfull, real and true.I wish the governners of all countries to set children as THE main priority to their plans. In fact, noone of us is going to live for ever. Noone of us is going to take glory, power or money with him, in his coming travel to the world of spirits and shadows. But the little, weak and unprotected child, who suffers in our times, by the "civilized" citizens of the planet earth within 21th century, must be met with the hug of Love, the perfect world of principals, the light of peace, in order to continue the route of hummanity in the future. The wooden hearts, bodies and spirits of children must hope. Dr Eistein said once: there will be no civilization on planet earth, if, even one child is sad. Let's place this target in our life plans: NO ONE CHILD SAD ON EARTH PLANET.

Takis Ioannides Athens Greece
Takis Ioannides


Return to Discussions on Forum

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests