Russia Population Shrinks to 143 MillionRussia Population Shrinks to 143 Million
Russia's population has shrunk by more than half a million people this year, dipping to 143 million, the federal statistics agency said Friday. Russia's population — the largest in Europe — has been declining steadily since the 1991 breakup of the Soviet Union, with increased poverty, alcoholism, emigration and degradation of the health care system blamed for reducing birth rates and life expectancy. Since the beginning of the year, the population went down by 506,400, the agency said on its Web site. United Nations experts have urged Russian authorities to boost social spending to improve health care and prevent the population decline. In a United Nations Development Program report released this week, demographers predicted that Russia's population will fall to 100 million by 2050, and could even drop to 80 million. The UN urged Russian authorities to change its strict immigration policy to provide incentives for educated, skilled migrants from former Soviet republics and other countries to move to Russia.
They've got used to freedom, so why do Russians still hunger for the USSR?
In a poll conducted in 2003, the Russian Centre for Public Opinion found that 53 per cent of Russians still regard Stalin as a "great" leader. Since 1989, the Russian mortality rate has risen from below 11 per 1,000 to more than 15 per 1,000 - nearly double the American rate. For adult males, the mortality rate is three times higher. Average male life expectancy at birth is below 60, roughly the same as in Bangladesh. A 20-year-old Russian man has a less than 50/50 chance of reaching the age of 65. This has much to do with the round-the-clock consumption of fags and booze - the typical St Petersburg man walks around with a bottle of beer and a cigarette in one hand the way a Londoner carries his mobile phone - not to mention an attitude to road safety apparently inspired by the Mad Max films. Exacerbating the demographic effects of increased mortality has been a steep decline in the fertility rate, from 2.19 births per woman in the mid-1980s to a nadir of 1.17 in 1999. Because of these trends, the United Nations projects that Russia's population will decline from 146 million in 2000 to 101 million in 2050. By that time the population of Egypt will be larger.
Putin's nightmares: Spreading insurgency, rising China
As the terrorism spreads northward, into areas of mixed Moslem and Orthodox populations, tactics on both sides ignite old passions. There are also lots of Moslems in Russia’s major cities — more than a million in Moscow alone. With Russia’s catastrophic declinning population but a rapid increase among its Moslemnon-Slav [from whom its armed forces are increasingly drawn], the long term threat is obvious. It is no wonder given all the problems obvious to Russians on a day-to-day basis opinion polls report ordinary citizens worried about the possible breakup of the post-Soviet Russian Federation. Surely Putin wakes in the middle of the night to remember sales of fighter planes and warships to the Chinese and signatures to friendship and border treaties does not vitiate the rapidly declining Russian population of minerals-rich Siberia, far closer to Beijing and millions of potential Chinese immigrants than Moscow.
The Other Russian Revolution
"A chicken's hardly a bird, a woman's hardly a person." This is a common Russian saying and it reflects the Russian way of thinking. In spite of the complete absence of women's rights in 18th-century Russia, there were five empresses of Russia who presided over the lives and deaths of their subjects. A woman in Russia lived through her family. And she had to have a husband. The key role for women in the U.S.S.R. was to be a "warrior's holiday." "A man knows the happiness of one who receives; a woman knows the happiness of one who gives"--this was the dream and the rule. The Russian Invasion of the tennis Klondike is in full swing. But there is a world beyond tennis, and they will have it, too. The Russian girls are coming. They don't want to change the world. They want to conquer it.