Raksha’s calculations are based on the difference between Russia’s birth and death rates and exclude migration. This population decline would mean that Russia now has fewer inhabitants than in the year 2000, when Vladimir Putin first came to power.

The record decline in the population is partly caused by the corona crisis. Officially, 214,000 corona deaths have been reported in Russia since the start of the pandemic, but the actual number of corona deaths is widely believed to be much higher. Health experts and demographers point to the big difference between the official number of corona deaths and the excess mortality in the country: how the death rate deviates from a long-term average. The excess mortality since the start of the pandemic is 660,000 deaths. According to Raksha, many corona deaths in Russia have been misclassified.

There is another reason for the dwindling of Russia’s population: a low fertility rate. On average, Russian women have only 1.5 children. That is why President Putin has been trying for years to encourage women to have more children by raising ‘maternity capital’, the Russian version of child benefits, and proclaiming ‘traditional family values’.

Also read:

Russia’s anti-abortion movement is gaining momentum for fear of population decline

The anti-abortion movement is gaining momentum in Russia, including in politics. It is in particular the non-religious arguments that catch on in the Kremlin.

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