Staunton, Jan. 31 – The Kremlin has been suggesting that Russia has turned the corner demographically because the total loss of population in 2023 was less than in recent year, but that figure looks good only in comparison with the super losses of the pandemic in 2020-2022, Yevgeny Ivanov of the Nakanune news agency said.
But while the Kremlin is bullish, even its own demographers are not, Ivanov says. Instead, an analysis of the state statistical agency’s projections for 2024 show that Rosstat expects the fertility rate among Russian women to fall to 1.4, far below what Putin has said it will be and far below replacement levels (nakanune.ru/articles/121767/).
That in turn means, the investigative journalist continues, that the fertility rate in 2023 was under 1.5, again far lower than the Kremlin has suggested – Putin has indicated he expected the 2024 rate to be above 1.6 -- and one that will mean that in two decades, there will be far fewer women in prime child-bearing cohorts and thus population decline will be even greater.
Ivanov cites with approval the analysis of Moscow demographer Yuri Krupnov who says that if nothing is done to address this trend, the Russian population will decline by the end of this century not by the third that many analysts have been citing in recent years but by 50 percent or perhaps even more.