Staunton, Jan. 19 – At a time when the Russian population is declining by more than a million a year and when deaths exceed births in more than half of the federal subjects by as much as three times, neither the Kremlin nor the Russian people are focusing on this looming tragedy, Yury Krupnov says.
Instead, the expert at the Moscow Institute for Demography, Migration and Regional Development says, both comfort themselves that what is happening will correct itself now that the pandemic is over and that Russia will resume growth without anyone having to do anything to promote that (sovsekretno.ru/articles/obshchestvo/demograficheskaya-propast160123/).
As a result, the situation is only getting worse and may already have passed the point where a serious correction is possible. Instead, he says, the recent declines may prove not to be the anomaly many think and instead become the harbinger of even greater declines in the coming years and decades.
Krupnov points out that even Moscow officials acknowledge that during the pandemic, covid infections explained only half of the super-high mortality rates during 2020 and 2021. The other half reflected problems in health care exacerbated on by Putin’s optimization program, changing personal behaviors and family size preferences, and a loss of confidence in the future.
The pandemic is mostly over, but all those other problems remain unaddressed; and unless the government and people focus on them, they will drive down the real size of the population however much the authorities seek to hide this tragedy by increasingly falsified data on demographic outcomes.
By the end of this century, Krupnov says, Russia may have fewer than 70 million people, half the number it has now. And all Russians should remember that “in history, there have been many cases of people who have disappeared.” At present, Russians appear to be on track to join them, something that should lead everyone to sound the alarm.