Sunday, November 19, 2023

‘Duma Deputies and Even Ministers’ Know Russia is Dying but Can’t Address Real Causes and So Come Up with Absurd Proposals, Chernyshov Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Nov. 17 – Russia is on its way to suffering declines of a million or more of its people every year, something “Duma deputies and even ministers” know full well, Yevgeny Chernyshov says. But because policies that might really change that situation are “taboo,” these politicians are constantly making absurd proposals that won’t do anything to help.

            The result is that Russia continues to die off, the Nakanune journalist who specializes on demographic topics says, and that these “clumsy statements … irritate people even more” and make them less willing to follow even reasonable guidance that might ease Russia’s demographic decline somewhat (

            He gives as examples the recent suggestion that women should have more children rather than pursue higher education and careers and that they should be happy to do so because the government through its “maternal capital program is so generous. But both of these ideas have already blown up in Moscow’s face.

            Urging women to not pursue higher educations and careers strikes at one of the liberal principles that post-Soviet women have internalized, Chernyshov says; and telling them to have more children because government subsidies will keep them at the same economic level they are with fewer or none.

            The second argument is especially offensive because Russians know that nothing the government is doing to support more children will raise the standard of living of families who agree to do so. Instead, the best the regime can offer is to prevent these families from becoming even poorer,

            Russians know that, and so they reject that idea as well. The only thing that would work, the journalist says, is to boost incomes across the board and create a situation in which Russians could look forward to a future in which they would have higher incomes, In that event, they might have more children. Short of that, nothing much is going to happen besides more anger.

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