Demographic doom for Russia

Paul Goble reports:

Moscow officials this week have been celebrating figures showing that for the first time in 15 years, Russia’s population did not decline in 2009, but a leading Russian demographer warns that this statistic, while true, is neither the result of President Dmitry Medvedev’s pro-natalist policies or the harbinger of an end to the decline.  Instead, Anatoly Vishnevsky, director of the Moscow Institute of Demography, says, this year’s figure reflects a conjunction of positive developments that will not last and that within five years, Russia will again see its population fall, unless Russian can attract and are prepared to accept more immigrants.

Tatyana Golikova, Russian health and social development minister, reported that the population of Russia at the end of 2009 was the same or possibly 15-25 thousand more than it was at the end of 2008, the first time that has happened since 1995. And President Dmitry Medvedev even spoke about the possibility of increasing the Russian population by 2025. Vishnevsky said that “in reality, there has been a certain improvement in demographic processes” in Russia both regards births and deaths, but he said that “the future will be defined not by these” and that in his best judgment, “the country is approaching the edge of a demographic abyss.”

The reason for that, he continues, has to do with the age structure of the population. For the last decade, the situation had been relatively favorable: “the number of young women who bear children had increased and the number of elderly people had declined. But now this resource is exhausted, and the situation is turning toward the other side.”

Young women entering prime child-bearing age cohorts now were born in the 1990s, “and there were few of them.” That means, Vishnevsky points out, that for the foreseeable future, there will be few potential mothers.” And at the same time, as a result of higher birthrates in the 1940s and 1950s, the number of elderly will grow. And that not only means that the number of elderly and children that every worker will have to “carry” will increase, but also that “the natural decline” of the population “will beyond question begin to increase” as well, something that makes “unreal” Golikova’s suggestion that the population will grow by several million before 2025.

The only way for those predictions to be realized, he continues, is to compensate for the natural losses with immigration, something that is increasingly difficult both because many Russians are opposed to the only groups now interested in coming, people from Central Asia and the Caucasus. Vishnevsky is dismissive of Golikova’s suggestion that the birthrate could be boosted 20 percent by a ban on abortions and that the current stabilization reflected the government’s social support measures. Neither of these ideas bears scrutiny, he says. Banning abortions is “a utopia” and would not lead to anything like that kind of a boost of the birthrate. And the government’s social programs may affect when a woman will have a child but are unlikely to affect how many children she will choose to have. Consequently, the demographer says, if these measures cause women to have more children now, it may mean that they will have even fewer later, thus making the coming declines even steeper.

12 responses to “Demographic doom for Russia

  1. Also the fact that thousands of Russian women leave each year to marry western men doesn’t help.
    Still who can blame them, when so many Russian males are just drunken chauvinistic slobs unwilling or incapable of supporting a family.

  2. Not just Westerners R John, either…

    Many Russians marry Chinese just to get away from their useless males, and their is even a Russian Orthodox church being built in Istanbul due to so many Rus women marrying Turks now also.

    Add to that the average Russian male life expectancy is actually going DOWN – just about the only country in the world and now stands at under 50, and you can see why Russia will cease to exist within 100 years or so.

  3. ha ha ha ;)

    This is not exactly true ;)

    Number of mixt weddings went from
    70.000 in 2007
    60.000 in 2008
    Around 50.000 in 2009
    (1/3 third of them with Ukrainians ;)

    Concerning attractions for foreigners

    So i am quiet not convinced that Russia will disapear in 100 years ;)

    • [1/3 third of them with Ukrainians]

      That’s as much as a “mixed marriage” as that between a Dane and a Norwegian.

      • Can’t hide the racist sub-text there Arty!

        Question: do you acknowledge Ukraine as a separate country from Russia as Denmark and Norway are?

  4. Also, number of weddings went up from 9% this year,

    As well as population grew for first time in 15 year…

  5. eddie

    of course Ukr is a separate country !

    Presidential race is on ( EU said votes were very regular) and final runners are :

    – Ianoukovitch which is “pro” (?) Russia
    – Timoshenko (nationalist)

    Who do you support by the way ?

  6. Alexandre,

    Russian poulation went up for the first time in 15 years due to immigrants. Ergo, not Russians. Ergo, Russians dead in 100 years.

    11 time zones and only 150 million people? (Includes immigrants).

    And, hate to say this, but the capital of Russia used to be Kiev, so yeah, Ukraine is not really that dissimilar is it? Oh, wait they have democracy… damn.

  7. Dear anonymous, this is all wrong i guess :

    If you check this :

    “Among last year’s arrivals, 3.6 million came from Ukraine, 2 million from Uzbekistan, 1.5 million from Kazakhstan, 1 million from Tajikistan and 500,000 from Kyrgyzstan”.
    Including a lot of ethnic russians from thoses republics.

    Many of the people receiving russian citizenship
    (This year 400.000) they are a lot of Ukrainiens (maybe a majority).

    The increase comes from immigration (about a third of a million) because the natural decline continues.
    Although at a slower rate: the birth rate is up about 3% and the death rate down about the same.

    Let’s sum up : increase due to immigration (30%) but mainly from Ukrainians …

    I maintain : russian won’t obviously be dead in 100 years ! ;)

  8. Dear Anonymous

    Pop increased for first time in 15 years due to immigrant you saiy ?
    Of course !
    Despite Russia’s natural population decline, immigrants ensure the country’s overall growth, the health and social development minister said on Thursday….. According to the Russian FMS, 333,474 foreign nationals and stateless individuals received Russian citizenship in January through November 2009.

    Confirmation here :
    The increase comes from immigration (about a third of a million) because the natural decline continues. Although at a slower rate: the birth rate is up about 3% and the death rate down about the same. The government program is having an effect at both ends of the demographic problem.

    Those immigrants who are they ?
    3.6 million came from Ukraine,
    2 million from Uzbekistan,
    1.5 million from Kazakhstan,
    1 million from Tajikistan
    500,000 from Kyrgyzstan.
    Easy to guess that along with the gaustarbeiters numerous russian with kazakh, uzbeck, tadjik nationality returned to mother land …

    So let’s sum it up :

    Immigration contributed to 1/3 of the increase but a large part of it are ukrainians or russian from the republics .. They of course have less problem obtaining nationality when not having process being eased by russian authorities …

    So i maintain : russian won’t disapear in 100 years !

  9. why are russians such pigs? Honest to god, they are just a bunch of g-ddamn farm animals. Here’s hoping china wipes them off the map

  10. alexandre LATSA

    Let’s modify in BK’s a few words, Russian by jewish and Chinse by German for example, so we had :

    “Why are russians such pigs? Here’s hoping china wipes them off the map ”

    Turning into :

    “Why are jewish such pigs? Here’s hoping germany wipes them off the map ”


    No comment ?

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