Staunton, May 15 – Because of rapidly declining birthrate, Russia is on track to see its population decline by a million or more a year as far into the future as the eye can see, Yevgeny Chernyshov says. The Putin regime talks about adopting policies to change that but in fact continues to pursue approaches that drive it down.
That was the message of academic and political experts at a recent roundtable at the Moscow City Duma on “The Demographic Crisis in Russia: Causes and Ways of Overcoming It,” the Nakanune news agency journalist who specializes in demographic issues reports (nakanune.ru/articles/120811/).
The key arguments of the participants included the following:
· The Kremlin’s policy of super-urbanization is leading ever more people to live in ever smaller high-rise apartments where having children is something many potential parents see as the addition of a burden to their lives.
· Russians know very well that those people who do have three or more children almost certainly will fall into poverty, the result of government underfunding of young families.
· Because doctors must now obey the laws of the marketplace, they are scheduling 15 times as many caesarian sections as they did a generation ago. They make more money but often the children do not survive or survive with health problems.
· Fifteen percent of all married couples are infertile, the result of the government’s push for genetically modified foods.
· To save money, the government is pushing the introduction of drugs and especially vaccines too early and without adequate trials, leading to deaths and other health problems.