Call for severe punishment for parents who leave children to fend for themselves aged under seven.
'I believe that the Western experience of punishing parents who left their children alone is not applicable to Russia'. Picture: The Siberian Times
The Investigative Committee in the Sakha Republic - Siberia's largest region - is urging it to be made illegal for children to be left alone below seven.
'We want some legislative moves on this issue. The reason is the very sad statistics about victims of fires in our republic, notably recent examples when children tragically died,' explained Nadezhda Dvoretskaya, of the republic's Investigative Committee - equivalent of the FBI - in an interview with Echo Moscow radio.
Some support came from the Kremlin's children's tsar Pavel Astakhov, who admitted that the problem was very serious.
Several countries deprive parents of their rights to raise children if the leave them home alone, he said.
Dr Boris Altshuler, head of 'Child's Right' public organisation, said the proposal was prompted by a natural feeling of worry for children's safety.
But the social implications 'must be worked on more'.
He warned: 'I believe that the Western experience of punishing parents who left their children alone is not applicable to Russia'.
Olga Batalina, deputy chairman of the State Duma Family Committee, said that a whole complex of different measures had to be taken in order to deal with the issue. Prominent Russian actor and musician Alexey Kortnev said that this initiative had no future, as it was 'impossible to control whether parents actually followed the law'.
He walked 200 kilometres on forest tracks to see his child - but now faces an extra 4 years in prison as punishment.
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