Staunton, Apr. 6 – Despite the 2021 census report that the share of ethnic Russians in the Russian Federation had declined by 5.5 million since 2010, Aleksey Raksha says that “in fact, the share of Russians did not change or even grew slightly” because many people did not declare a nationality at all and because Russians are rapidly assimilating other groups.
The independent but much cited Moscow demographer says that the assimilation of ethnic Ukrainians and ethnic Belarusians in Russia is taking place “very rapidly” with members of these groups “declaring themselves Russians and their children even more so (kp.ru/daily/27487.3/4743097/).
Moreover, Raksha says, “the Finno-Ugric peoples – the Mordvin, Moksha, Udmurts, Karels and Maris – are assimilating;” and “children from mixed marriages ever more often consider themselves to be Russians.” In in Komsomolskaya Pravda article, he provides no data to support what many Russians will consider welcome news.
In addition, the demographer makes the following observations about the demographic situation Russia finds itself in, how Russians should feel about it, and what the government should do about the situation to improve matters:
· It is too early to draw any general conclusions about the uptick in birthrates earlier this year, especially since “fertility grew most strongly in the non-Russian republics;” but “one can say for certain that the decline in birthrates has stopped.”
· Russia must take measures to boost the fertility rate because the size of the prime child-bearing cohort of women will decline to 40 percent less in 2030 than it was in 2010. Otherwise, the number of births will fall by the same amount.
· He favors increasing government “maternal capital” payments to one million rubles (15,000 US dollars) for the second child in a family and 1.5 million rubles (22,500 US dollars) for the third, something that will cost the country about 900 billion rubles (13 billion US dollars) a year.
· Russia is going to find it ever more difficult to attract more immigrant workers unless it changes the structure of its economy and political system.
· Russia has no reason to fear massive Chinese immigration because Chinese birthrates are so low.