Staunton, Feb. 5 – Most people are accustomed to thinking that the dying out of the Russian nation is taking place in the villages, but Rosstat, Moscow’s statistical agency, says that there simply aren’t enough villagers left to have that impact and that in fact, “the withering away of Russia will being in the very largest cities.”
Unless there is a new wave of immigration to compensate for more deaths than births, Moscow will lose 695,200 people or about 31,600 a year; and St. Petersburg will lose 466,400 or about 21,200 each year up to that time. But those are far from the only urban and urbanized areas that will lose population over the next 22 years (krizis-kopilka.ru/archives/101773).
Also over this period, again if there is no immigration, Moscow Oblast will lose 610,000 over this period, Rosstat says; Krasnodar Kray will lose 462,000; Sanara and Nizhny Novgorod Oblasts will lose 440,000 each; and Sverdlovsk, Saratov and Voronezh Oblasts will lose 352,000 each as well. The cities will thus account for the lion’s shar of the overall population decline.
From the point of view of the Kremlin, this is a powerful argument for promoting more immigration. But if immigrants compensate for such radical declines in the indigenous Russian population, the ethnic balance of Russia’s cities will shift against Russians and that will spark new tensions that the Kremlin will have to try to address.