Staunton, Aug. 18 – The Kremlin believes that the number of residents of the Russian Federation must not fall below 146 million so that they will be able to provide enough workers, soldiers and women who can give birth to more workers and soldiers, Sergey Starovoytov of the Club of the Regions portal says.
That has prompted it to institute a variety of pro-natalist policies and, when those have fallen short as now, to open the borders of the country to the influx of massive numbers of immigrants, projected to arrive at the rate of one million or more a year as far into the future as eyes can see (polit.ru/news/2023/08/18/starovoitovv/).
But that policy is changing the face of Russia and is not the only way forward, Starovoytov says. Assuming that the population must remain at 146 million or more is a conservative approach, one based on the conviction that the Russian economy won’t modernize or fundamentally change.
But the political technologist says, there is another option, one that the Kremlin should think about rather than continue to fail to boost the birthrate or to create new ethnic problems for Russia by increasing immigration; and that is rapid economic modernization and the shift to the use of artificial intelligence and related technologies.
Were Russia to do that, it could get by with far fewer people and in fact grow economically and even geopolitically. But it seems unlikely that the current Putin regime is prepared to change course. As a result, Russia’s population and economy will continue to decline and the potential for ethnic clashes with migrants to increase in the coming decades.