Staunton, Jan. 23 – Vladimir Putin may have declared 2024 the year of the family, but his policies are exacerbating current trends toward fewer marriages, more divorces, more abortions and fewer children, a pattern that will inevitably mean Russia’s further demographic decline, according to Russian experts.
At a meeting devoted to the state of the Russian family, these specialists suggested that Russian society was moving toward one that would be characterized by few marriages and even fewer children, a situation they said was already “a catastrophe” and will only become worse (nakanune.ru/articles/121739/).
According to one speaker, families with children now constitute only a few more than one in five households in Russia. Of these approximately 23 million families, 15 million have only one child, six to seven million to and fewer than two million have three or more children, the number of offspring needed to increase the population.
Other speakers pointed to rising tides of divorces – 70 percent of marriages end in divorce – and of abortions. Russian officials claim that today abortions end pregnancies in only 25 percent of the cases but in fact, sociological studies show that the actual number of abortions is one in every two pregnancies or 50 percent.
Unfortunately, instead of fighting these trends by addressing the family as an issue, these specialists continued, the Russian government has focused instead on individuals rather than families in its limited aid packages, undermining families because aid goes to them rather than to families, thus doing nothing to keep families together and ensuring more children are born.
That must change, the specialists said. Otherwise, the fertility rate and Russia’s overall population will continue to fall and at accelerating rates. And while some of these trends are underlying social shifts, the government will bear enormous responsibility for precisely the outcome it says it does not want.