Over 60 mothers were charged with murdering their babies across Russia in the first half of 2011, a government daily said.
Twenty of the sixty four suspected murders took place in the central federal district, which includes Moscow, the Rossiiskaya Gazeta paper said.
Psychiatrists quoted by the paper say many of the women killed their children after going temporarily insane following labor. Other experts suggest, however, that the killings have their roots in social ills.
The paper suggested that problems faced by non-Muscovites with the country’s notorious registration system meant it was hard for them to receive prenatal medical attention in the capital.
Arrivals in the Russian capital are required to register with the city authorities at their place of residence. The procedure is fraught with bureaucratic hurdles and expenses.
“Is it easy for non-Muscovites who lack [city] registration to register with hospitals in Moscow or the Moscow Region?” the paper asked. “Maybe it seems simpler to give birth in a toilet and then suffocate the child than get involved with our soical organizations?”
Another possible reason for the spurt in baby killings suggested by the paper was that many mothers were simply afraid they would be unable to afford to raise a child.
One case quoted by the paper involved single mother Oksana T, who killed her newborn after doubting she possessed the financial means to raise a second child.
“She regrets this, and has shown repentance,” case materials quoted by Rossiiskaya Gazeta said. “She did this because she was afraid of bringing up two children on her own.”
Oksana T was sentenced to two years, which she will serve when her daughter reaches 18 years of age.