While the United States and Russia have historically had very little in common when it comes to societal trends, there are actually two issues on which the two countries seem to share a similar mindset: marriage and divorce.
To illustrate, statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that there were over 2 million marriages in the U.S. in 2011 along with over 870,000 divorces. Similarly, figures from the Russian government show that there were roughly 1.3 million marriages in 2011 along with over 670,000 divorces.
Interestingly, perhaps the most well known living political figure in all of Russia, President Vladimir Putin, announced just yesterday that he and his wife, Lyudmila, were joining the ranks of the country's divorced couples.
The announcement came on state-run TV when the couple appeared for an interview with a lone reporter after attending a ballet performance at the Kremlin earlier in the evening.
After a series of unrelated questions, the interviewer finally asked Putin whether rumors that he was he was no longer living with his wife were true, and the president confirmed that this was indeed the case. From there, Lyudmila indicated that the couple had reached "a joint decision" to end their marriage.
"Our marriage is over due to the fact that we barely see each other," she said.
The two originally married back in 1983, while Vladimir was a rising star in the political ranks and Lyudmila, five years his junior, was an airline stewardess. The couple, who have two adult children, have remained intensively private over the years despite longstanding rumors that they were living apart or had divorced in secret.
While the interview makes it clear that the Putins are no longer together, it remains unclear whether they have actually taken the steps of having a court legally dissolve their marriage.
"They separated a long time ago," said a spokesperson for the Russian president when pressed about the issue. "I don't know if the divorce has been formalized, but I can confirm that we are talking about a civilized divorce."
It should be interesting to see what details, if any, emerge about the divorce over the coming months ...
Anyone considering a dissolution of marriage -- regardless of their financial circumstances -- should strongly consider consulting with a dedicated legal professional who can protect their rights, inform them of their options and protect their best interests.
Source: Reuters, "Russia's Putin and wife say their marriage is over," Alexei Anishchuk and Steve Gutterman, June 7, 2013