Russia’s Disappearing Children
In 1995, according to the Russian Kremlin’s own data, Russia had 38 million children. Over the next five years, it lost 5.5 million of them, and over the ten years following, the years of the so-called Putin “presidency,” it lost seven million more. Over the past 15 years, Russia has lost nearly one-third of its children, well over half of them during the Putin years.
That’s right, seven million children lost from Russia’s population on Putin’s watch. And that’s the statistic the KGB Kremlin is willing to admit. Do you dare to imagine what the real facts would show?
It gets worse. The Moscow Times reports: “Babies are also sicklier now than in 1996, the UNICEF report said. The percentage of babies born sick or who fell sick soon after birth reached 37.3 percent in 2008, compared with 28.5 percent in 1995, the report said. The most widespread children’s illnesses were those that affected their respiratory systems.”
What more emphatic proof of a failed civilization could one imagine than that it is liquidating its children at breakneck speed?
Let’s repeat: During the first term of Vladimir Putin, Russia lost more than one million children from its population each and every year. And during that time, how many speeches did Putin give addressing himself to this horrific crisis? By contrast, how many did he give railing against evil people in America and Chechnya. How much money did he spend on Russia’s children, compared to what he spent on war?
The consequences of this cataclysmic reality are clear: Russia’s population cannot possibly grow any time soon, because it doesn’t have enough future adults to make it grow. Even if Russia somehow solved the problems that have caused the present generation to lose hope in their lives and stop having babies, it doesn’t have enough baby-makers in its pipeline to make up for the horrific losses it has already sustained.
As we’ve previously reported, one Russian woman is murdered by her husband every 30 minutes in Russia. One third of Russia’s children have disappeared. Russia leads the world in divorce and suicide.
And yet, Vladimir Putin continues to receive stunningly high approval in polls. There are two clear reasons for that. First, Putin lies. He lies a lot. And therefore many Russians have very little real idea what is happening to them. Then, Russians are craven cowards who simply won’t stand up and fight for their future.
They prefer to watch their children disappear.
In an op-ed from the New York Times that we republish today, jailed oil oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky, writing about the loss of democracy not children, asks: “Who is to blame for this turn of events? Not just the Kremlin. Responsibility for modern Russia’s transformation must be laid on the elites — the people involved in the adoption of the most important political and economic decisions.”
Khodorkovsky is wrong. Responsibility for Russia’s transformation must be laid on the people of Russia. They are responsible for what happens in their country, they allowed Putin to take power, and they have allowed him to keep and abuse it. Not until they are called to account for their malignant deeds will Russia’s children have any hope for a future.