Three ways Kremlin contributing to Russia’s demographic crisis

The grave digger wearing a t-shirt of Russia's ruling party "United Russia." (Image: social media)

The grave digger wearing a t-shirt of Russia's ruling party "United Russia." (Image: social media) 

International, More

Most analysts in Russia and the West argue that changes in the size of the prime child-bearing cohort of Russian women, long-standing secular trends to smaller family size in Russia as in other countries, and the impact of the economic crisis on family choices and mortality rates as the most important explanations for Russia’s demographic crisis.

Those three factors are undoubtedly the most important, and they are vectors that the Russian government can do little about at least in the short run. But this week brings news reports that spotlight three other factors, often ignored, where the Kremlin bears direct responsibility and that are making Russia’s demographic problems even worse.

First, Russia is in the midst of a dramatic increase in HIV inflections and AIDS-related deaths, the result of ever earlier and most often unprotected sexual contacts and drug use and of the government’s failure to ensure that there are sufficient supplies of anti-retroviral drugs to ensure that those infected do not die of the disease.

Russian medical experts say that HIV infections are up three to four percent in the last year alone, with some locations reporting even higher figures. And they are beginning to speak about HIV as “an epidemic” in Russia because the share of adults infected in many places is nearly two percent (see versia.ru and iz.ru).

What makes this contributing factor to Russia’s demographic decline so appalling is that Western countries have shown that HIV/AIDS can be brought under control with consistent albeit expensive government programs of education and treatment. Moscow, however, under Vladimir Putin has cut back medical programs under the euphemistic name “optimization.”

It may be optimization for the state budget, but it is not optimization for the Russian people and especially those suffering from this disease.

Second, largely because of the Kremlin’s counter-sanctions program, there is a serious shortage of medications more generally. Moscow has blocked both the medicines themselves and the components out of which it has manufactured needed drugs and people are suffering. Russian diabetics, for example, often are not getting insulin. Without that drug, many will die.

If the Kremlin was concerned about the health of its people rather than its geopolitical goals, it could import the needed drugs, many more people would survive, Russia’s third world-level adult male mortality rates would decline, and the country’s overall demographic numbers would improve.

And third, Putin’s promotion of urbanization and his neglect of rural areas is having a demographic effect few have commented upon until this week. Given the increasing impoverishment of rural areas, young men are fleeing the villages to the cities and thus not becoming the fathers they otherwise might have been.

In Russia as in other countries, birthrates in rural areas tend to be higher than in cities; but thanks to Putin’s megalopolis-focused policies, the young men who could make that possible are elsewhere. As a result, rural birthrates in Russia are lower than they would otherwise be; and consequently, Russia’s population is declining by more than it would if policies were otherwise.

Related:

Edited by: A. N.

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Comments

  1. Avatar zorbatheturk says:

    Less RuSSians is MORE reasons to celebrate!

    1. Avatar Микола Данчук says:

      There are no Russians, just Moskali and the leftovers of the Soviet that live in a delusion of superiority.

      1. Avatar Lindajells says:

        Google is paying 97$ per hour! work for few hours and have longer with friends & family!
        On tuesday I got a Smart new Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $8752 this last four weeks.. Its the most-financialy rewarding I’ve had.. It sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it
        :!ap234d:
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        1. Avatar Dagwood Bumstead says:

          Zounds! Dwarfstanians can actually visit Pyongyang, and admire all the statues of Kim Il-sung, Kim Jong-il and Kim Jong-un!!!! And see portraits of the three wherever they look!!! What a tourist attraction!!!!
          Still, it may be a refreshing change from Dwarfstan where one sees photos of the dwarf everywhere, plus increasing numbers of portraits and statues of Stalin.

    2. Avatar ak47 says:

      Surely it is the dying out of illiterate, nazi cunntts like you which is the cause for celebrations. The fewer (NOT less, pussy) of like of maggots like you the better, Fortunately it is going this way, the newly formed nazi state of ukraine IS dying out and depopulating at an alarming rate as are the other three nazi reich in the baltics who saw their population shrink by a third in the last decade mostly thanks to their nazi discriminatory policies. The fewer nazis the better!

      1. Avatar zorbatheturk says:

        You are an expert on Na zis.

  2. Avatar MichaelA says:

    Village or small town is centre of Russian culture.
    But they are disappearing

    1. Avatar Dagwood Bumstead says:

      This can be seen especially in Siberia and the Far East where whole villages are empty or are only inhabited by the elderly. Chinese immigrants,legal and otherwise, are taking their places, infiltrating so to speak. Peking is creating facts on the ground and will eventually simply take over the territories it wants. And there’s nothing the demented dwarf and Co can do about it, though he’s tried to increase the ethnic Dwarfstanian percentage in these territories by relocating Donbas refugees to the Far East, giving them one-way tickets so that they couldn’t go back. But there are only so many Donbas refugees, and many of them aren’t interested in moving to the Far East.

      1. Avatar veth says:

        RUSSIANS ARE RICH……………………

        Report: Russian offshore wealth likely equal to country’s entire household wealth Capital flight from Russia is now likely equal to the collective wealth of all Russian households, according to a new report by a respected U.S. research firm, a trend that has helped to drive the country’s income inequality to extreme levels, according to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

        World 16:16, 25 August 2017

        The National Bureau of Economic Research says in a paper being published this month that the top 1 percent of Russians now hold up to 25 percent of the country’s wealth, a function of capital flight that has accelerated in recent years, RFE/RL wrote. “There is as much financial wealth held by rich Russians abroad – in the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Cyprus, and similar offshore centers – than held by the entire Russian population in Russia itself,” the report says. Wealth stashed outside the country by rich Russians is now around three times larger than official net foreign reserves, it says. The concentration of income for the top 1 percent of Russians is now comparable to similar levels in the United States, the report says, and well above France. The report’s authors, which include famed economist Thomas Piketty, say they used national accounts, surveys, wealth rankings, and tax data, including recently released tax data on high-income taxpayers, to compile the report, and say existing official surveys likely understate the degree of inequality. Read also Major bank in occupied Crimea recognized insolvent The bureau, also known as NBER, is a private U.S. research group known as the official arbiter of U.S. economic cycles – expansions and recessions – as well as being home to many award-winning economists and researchers. Russia’s income inequality, the report says, was markedly different from other former communist countries, as well as nations like China – a function, it says, of how Russia made the transition to a market economy following the Soviet collapse in 1991. After the turbulent 1990s, which included the crash of the Russian ruble in 1998, the country’s economy stabilized in the early 2000s and then accelerated largely by high global oil prices. Since the global recession in 2008, however, Russia’s economy has seen more modest growth, hobbled by low oil prices, as well as Western economic sanctions imposed following Moscow’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in 2014. Gross domestic product is running at a meager 0.5 percent this year and is forecast to grow 1.4 percent in 2017 and 2018. Official inflation is around 4.4 percent. this year. The report argues that the “dramatic failure of Soviet communism and egalitarian ideology” in part paved the way for Russian willingness to tolerate high-income inequality and the concentration of private wealth in the hands of a relative few. “In effect, extreme inequality seems acceptable in Russia, as long as billionaires and oligarchs appear to be loyal to the Russian state and perceived national interests,” the paper finds. “Whether this fragile equilibrium will persist in the coming years and decades remains to be seen.” Tags: Russia, offshore, wealth

        Read more on UNIAN: https://www.unian.info/world/2098944-report-russian-offshore-wealth-likely-equal-to-countrys-entire-household-wealth-media.html

        1. Avatar zorbatheturk says:

          RuSSian oligarchs are crooks, especially Putin’s buddy Abramovich.

          1. Avatar Dagwood Bumstead says:

            To be fair, Ukrainian oligarchs aren’t much better, especially the pro-Dwarfstan oligarchs Akhmetov, Boiko, Pinchuk and Firtash.

          2. Avatar zorbatheturk says:

            All are Soviet creations.

        2. Avatar Dagwood Bumstead says:

          It would be more accurate to say SOME Dwarfstanians are rich…..

    2. Avatar Микола Данчук says:

      There is no Russian culture nor Russia just a prolonged nightmare called the Kremlin.

      1. Avatar ak47 says:

        So the Russian saying “Ukranians are just stupid Russians” is true. You are the epitome of it. What the f is with your name? Call yourself Nikolai – not some Mikola dumb hohol sh!!t

        1. Avatar Микола Данчук says:

          Denigration is all you got?

          1. Avatar ak47 says:

            You are a manifestation of a depraved, self-deluded ukr nazi. Accusing me of denigration while typing racist and russophobic depravities as you do. You wear your racist, neo-nazi badge with pride – it won’t fit me. Unlike you, slobbering hate-filled diatribes together with a cohort of brainwashed russophobic losers on this pathetic, I have decency, humanity, intelligence and self-respect.

          2. Avatar Микола Данчук says:

            Delusional as well?

          3. Avatar Nikoli says:

            Typical for his sort, all bluster and no brain!

  3. Avatar Ihor Dawydiak says:

    Lower ethnic Russian birth rates + increased non-ethnic Russian birth rates + health epidemics + increased poverty + unabated imperialism + unabated oppression + an ever increasing and disgruntled youth population + increased disgruntlement of almost everyone living outside of Moskva and Sankt Peterburg (especially the Caucasus and Siberian Regions) + unending useless wars (especially Donbas and Syria) + a demoralized army + never ending governmental and oligarchical kleptocracy + financially and economically ruinous sanctions + almost everything else under the sun = fewer grave diggers and more licensed excavator operators. Why? A devastating increase in the mortality rate. And the final result: Putin and his putinistas have out of their own stupidities not only trashed Russia but they have also concocted their own self destruction via the upcoming Second Russian Revolution which in turn will bury any nonsensical notion of recreating another decrepit Russian Empire. However, on the bright side, the chances for global peace would be improved as would be the security, sovereignty and independence of nascent democracies such as Ukraine.

    1. Avatar veth says:

      ARE OUR TROOPS IN DONBASS, THE SURPRISED RUSSIANS ASKED………….

      Volker: the conflict in the Donbas can be solved in a few months
      Friday, August 25, 2017 10:00:33 AM

      In a broadcast by the television channel Dozhd, US Special Representative on Ukraine Kurt Volker said that he believes that the conflict in the Donbas can be solved in a few months.

      “If Russia is prepared to solve problems and we, from our side, are also ready to do so, I am sure that everything will be resolved in a few months. I do not think that it will be difficult to implement. The difficulty lies in making a decision. I think that literally within a few months we will see whether there is progress or not,” he said.

      Volker stressed that ending the war in the Donbas is a key requirement for improving US-Russian relations.

      “In Hamburg, President Trump told President Putin that we will not be able to strengthen or improve US-Russian relations until the conflict in Ukraine is resolved, which hinders the establishment of bilateral relations … For Trump, the conflict in Ukraine is one of the main obstacles to the improvement of relations between the US and Russia. Of course, this is not the only problem,” the US ambassador said.

      In his opinion, only political will is needed to end the war.

      “Are going to solve this problem or not? If we are going to, then we can use the Minsk process for it. But first we need to develop a decision-making system. We do not currently have one; therefore, the Normandy format has not given the expected result,” said Volker.

      On July 7, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson appointed Volker, the former US ambassador to NATO, as Special Representative for Ukraine. He will coordinate the efforts of the State Department to resolve the conflict in Ukraine.
      In recent years, Volker worked at a republican organization, the McCain Institute for Global Leadership.

      1. Avatar Quartermaster says:

        Minsk needs to be thrown out. It was sham from the start and the outcome would severely damage Ukraine.

  4. Avatar zorbatheturk says:

    RuSSia and the RuSSian empire must be relegated to the history books.

  5. Avatar Nowhere Girl says:

    And what about alcohol? I think it’s gotten slightly better, but for years Russia had the highest disparity between life expectancy for women and men. Pretty much everywhere, regardless of quality of healthcare, it’s about 4-8 years in favor of women and in Russia it was 14. Women’s life expectancy in Russia was close to European standards, but so many Russian men drank themselves to death that the average Russian man died before 60.

    1. Avatar Quartermaster says:

      It’s been a bit since I saw it, but the life expectancy of a Russian male was 59.

  6. Avatar zorbatheturk says:

    Increase vodka rations.