MOSCOW: The Kremlin on Thursday rejected suggestions from a senior lawmaker that Russian women should not have sex with visiting World Cup fans, saying they would make up their own minds.
President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov reacted to comments on Wednesday by 70-year-old Communist lawmaker Tamara Pletneva warning that football-fuelled flings with fans could leave Russian women raising children "of another race".
While saying the matter "was out of the Kremlin's remit," Peskov pointed out to journalists that FIFA's slogan on World Cup FAN IDs is "Say no to racism".
"Russian women can probably manage their own affairs. They are the best women in the world," he added.
Pletneva, who leads the lower house of parliament's family, women and children committee, told a local radio station she hoped women would not date visiting fans and get pregnant.
The World Cup hosted by Russia could mean "there will be young women who meet someone and then give birth... I hope not," she said.
She compared the situation to the 1980 Olympics held in Moscow, which led to some local women having then-unusual relationships with foreigners and falling pregnant.
Asked if the World Cup could boost Russia's birth rate -- a key goal for Putin -- Pletneva replied: "We should be giving birth to our own children."
Children who are mixed-race are likely to be brought up in one-parent families, she warned.
"It's the children who suffer... and have suffered since the Soviet era. It's lucky if they're the same race (as the mother) but if they're of another race, it's worse," she said, adding "I'm not a nationalist".
She said that children risked being "abandoned and just left with their mother" or alternatively being taken abroad by their fathers, urging women to marry "Russian citizens".
Pletneva previously criticised the #MeToo campaign against sexual harassment, tentatively spreading in Russia.
"We're not in America or Europe. Why should we copy everything? If a woman doesn't want it, no one is going to harass her," she told Gazeta.ru news site in February.