Working-Age Russians Now More Pessimistic about Future than Pensioners, Levada Poll Finds

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, July 17, 2018) The continuing stagnation or worse of the Russian economy has “upended the pyramid of social optimism” in Russia, Mikhail Sergeyev says. Instead of older people being the most pessimistic about the future of their country as is typically the case, now working age Russians are. This finding of the […]

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Governors Back Moscow’s Pension Plan but Seek Exemptions for Their Own People

Russia Regions Map

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, July 16, 2018) Caught between the demands of the Kremlin which decides whether they will be in office and the opposing views of their populations that could make their time there easy or difficult, Russia’s governors are simultaneously telling Moscow they support the pension plan but asking it to exempt their own […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russian pundit says migration policy needs to be ‘more open'” – Izvestia/Sergei Ryazantsev

Russian Migrant Workers file photo

In Izvestia, Sergei Ryazantsev argues: “… The United Nations rates [Russia] third after the United States and Germany in terms of number of immigrants. … in 2015 … the US population born overseas amounted to 46.6m; 12m went to Germany, 11.6m to Russia. Uzbeks, Tajiks, Kyrgyz, Armenians, Azerbaijanis, and representatives of other republics of the former USSR began to come […]

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Russia’s World Cup Team Bucks Multiethnicity Seen On Swiss, Other Teams

File Image of Soccer Ball, Field, Stadium with Lights, adapted from image at fbi.gov

(Article ©2018 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – Pete Baumgartner – June 30, 2018 – article also appeared at rferl.org/a/russia-world-cup-team-no-multiethnicity-swiss/29329228.html) While there is a splash of ethnic diversity on virtually every team playing in soccer’s 2018 Russia World Cup, many cite the Swiss national team for setting the standard for being multicultural. Known affectionally by its fans […]

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World Cup May Have Helped Russia But It hasn’t Boosted Putin

File Photo of Putin Sitting at Desk, Looking Down, Writing, During Call-In Show, adapted from screenshot of video at kremlin.ru

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, June 24, 2018) Many commentators in both Russia and the West have suggested that the World Cup has helped Russia to overcome much of the opprobrium it has suffered as a result of its invasion of Ukraine, its meddling in elections in Western countries and in general its disruptive behavior. And it […]

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Russians Getting Older, Reducing Pressure for and Likelihood of Change, Pryanikov Says

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, June 11, 2018) The average age of Russians today is much higher than in the past and will continue to rise in the coming decades, Pavel Pryanikov says; and as a result, the usual source of pressure for change, from members of younger generations, is going to fall, reducing still further the […]

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Putin vs. Pensions: Will His Reelection Finally Free Him To Tackle Looming Crisis?

File Photo of Elders Walking in Russia

(Article ©2018 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – Mike Eckel – May 16, 2018 – article also appeared at rferl.org/a/putin-vs-pensions-will-his-reelection-finally-free-him-to-tackle-looming-crisis-/29229857.html) It’s been the third rail of Russian politics for years, if not decades, but now an increasingly fragile economy appears to have forced the Kremlin to finally reckon with the country’s pension crisis. Russia’s pension system — […]

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RUSSIALINK: “UN Predicts Falling Population, Rising Urbanization in Russia Through 2050” – Moscow Times

File Photo of Crowd in Russia Including Person Waving Russian Flag with Eagle

[Link to UN Report: https://esa.un.org/unpd/wup/] (Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – May 17, 2018) Russia’s population will shrink by 11 million people by 2050 and will increasingly be concentrated in cities, according to the latest United Nations estimates. Russia has been in the midst of a generational demographic crisis, which newly inaugurated President Vladimir Putin said he would seek to reverse […]

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‘Even in Soviet Times, Nobody Believed Promises Like Putin is Making,’ Gontmakher Says

Couple in Hospital with Newborn

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, May 9, 2018) Vladimir Putin’s new May decrees are no more realistic or realizable than the 2012 ones that even he has acknowledged have remained largely unfulfilled, Yevgeny Gontmakher says. Instead, they are slogans about the future like those the Soviet government trotted out on holidays and that no one in the […]

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NEWSLINK: “Russia’s ‘Brain Drain’ and the Prospects for Regime Transformation” – Russian and Eurasian Politics/Gordon M. Hahn

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

“The U.S. government … is claiming a sharp spike in asylum claims from Russian citizens, hitting a 24-year high in 2017 …. One of the main drivers of revolutionary forms of democratic regime transformation, according to contemporary social science, is the lack of sufficient social mobility for middle class youth that often emerges in authoritarian countries with high or rising […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Amid international pressure, Russia’s economy is a mix of the good, the bad and the ugly” – CNBC/Dawn Kissi

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

“… Russia ‘maintained strong growth underpinned by solid productivity, with a sustainable growth trend estimated at 2-2.5 percent,’ … [but] the rebound obscures … ‘one of the few countries in the world with negative population growth, which reduces their overall growth potential.’ The population shrinkage – by some measures at around 0.4 percent – dampens productivity, making growth above 2 […]

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Generation P: A Lifetime Under Putin

File Photo of Kremlin Aerial View, adapted from .gov source

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – April 25, 2018) In 2000, when Vladimir Putin first became president, 1.3 million children were born in Russia. This year, as that generation turns 18 and gains the right to vote, Putin was reelected to another six years in power. His victory in March extends his rule over the country until 2024. By then, Generation […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Life in Vladimir Putin’s Russia explained in 10 charts” – BBC/ Alex Murray, Tom Housden, Anastasia Napalkova, Sandra Rodriguez Chillida, Joy Roxas, Zoe Bartholomew

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

“1. Fewer people are poor … 2. But wage growth has stalled recently … 3. More people have a car, and there are more microwaves than households … 4. Russians fell in love with Ikea … 5. And champagne … There’s some dispute over how much Russians drink. … 6. … the internet took off … 7. But circuses are […]

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Russia should allocate at least 3.4 trln rubles for demographic development within next 6 years – Putin

Couple in Hospital with Newborn

MOSCOW. March 1 (Interfax) – At least 3.4 trillion rubles should be allocated for demographic development within the next six years, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in his annual address to the Federal Assembly on Thursday. “We will have to allocate at least 3.4 trillion rules for demographic development measures and for the welfare of mothers and children within the […]

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Ukrainians Abroad: The Economics and Politics of Labor Migration

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

(Kennan Institute – wilsoncenter.org/program/kennan-institute – Brian Milakovsky – February 7, 2018) [Text with links kennan-focusukraine.org/ukrainians-abroad-the-economics-and-politics-of-labor-migration/] Brian Milakovsky works on economic recovery issues at a humanitarian organization in Luhanska Oblast, Ukraine . He has been in Ukraine or Russia since 2009, working in both the ecological and humanitarian sectors. In December, Ukraine’s Infrastructure Minister Volodymyr Omelyan made a statement that raised […]

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Birth Rate Hits 10-Year Low in Russia

Couple in Hospital with Newborn

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 29, 2018) Russia’s birth rate has fallen to the lowest level in a decade, with just 1.69 million births recorded last year, despite government efforts to reverse the demographic trend, according to official data. The government plans to spend $8.6 billion over three years to encourage Russians to have more babies starting this election […]

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Russia’s Brain Drain on the Rise Over Economic Woes – Report

Artist's Rendition of Head and Brain, adapted from .gov image at lbl.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 24, 2018) An increasing number of educated Russians are leaving the country for economic and political reasons, according to researchers at a prestigious Russian state university. Researchers at the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA) conducted interviews with Russian emigrants abroad and cited statistics from countries receiving them. Previous reports […]

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Russian Workers an ‘Invisible Class’ Since Collapse of Soviet Union, New Study Concludes

Russian Migrant Workers file photo

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, January 11, 2018) Russians employed in factories have become “an invisible group” in society since 1991; and as a result, the identity even now is based largely on memories of the Soviet past as exacerbated by their sense of growing social inequality, according to a new study by the Higher School of […]

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NEWSLINK: “Before Election, Putin Offers $8.6 Billion to Russians to Have More Babies” – Bloomberg/Jake Rudnitsky, Olga Tanas

Couple in Hospital with Newborn

“… The government will spend 500 billion rubles ($8.6 billion) over three years on measures to encourage Russians to have more babies, including mortgage subsidies and payments to new and growing families …. The money will come from government reserves and won’t require changes in the budget, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov told the upper house of parliament. …”

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Looming Demographic Collapse Now ‘Main Threat to Russian National Security,’ Health Expert Says

File Photo of Crowd of Russians with One Waving Russian Flag

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, November 14, 2017) The situation with regard to Russia’s birthrate is much worse than officials say, Igor Gundarov says. It is not easily correctible as some think but rather reflects a “cascading demographic” decline that now represents the main threat to the national security” of the country. The specialist on health care […]

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Two-Thirds of Russia’s Villages have Disappeared or Soon Will, Statistics Show

Russia Regions Map

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, November 5, 2017) Most discussions of migration in Russia focus on the arrival of gastarbeiters from Central Asia, the Caucasus or elsewhere; but two other population flows may be even more important for the country’s future: the flight from villages to the cities and the exit of people from the north and […]

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Welcome to Gdov, where Russia comes to an end; Russia’s westernmost district is dying out – and with it, hopes for the country’s rebirth.

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(opendemocracy.net – Sergey Damberg – November 1, 2017) Sergey Damberg is a sociologist and graduate of St Petersburg and Bielefeld universities. He directs the Expertise sociological bureau, and is a researcher at Centre for Independent Social Research. In 2014-2015, Damberg was the general manager of Pskov Drama theatre. Together with Russian sociologist Sergey Damberg, we start a new column series […]

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NEWSWATCH: “‘No miracles’: labor shortage set to hit Russia’s GDP” – Reuters/Denis Pinchuk, Maria Kiselyova

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

“A dearth of young people joining Russia’s workforce because of a low birth rate will shave several percent off potential economic growth in the next five to six years, Economy Minister Maxim Oreshkin said. … the labour shortage made it hard for technology companies, among others, to recruit staff they need …. * * * ‘To a large extent economic growth […]

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Another Worrying Sign For Russia’s Dire Demographics

Russian Migrant Workers file photo

(Article ©2017 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – Tom Balmforth – MOSCOW – September 27, 2017 – article also appeared at rferl.org/a/russia-population-decline-labor-oreshkin/28760413.html) Many advanced economies are wondering how breakthroughs in technology could leave whole swaths of the population unemployed, but in Russia the government is pondering how to fill jobs with a dramatically shrinking work force. Economy Minister […]

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The caring state: how Russia’s new babushkas are filling in the welfare gaps; Expectations of babushki taking care of their grandchildren, shaped by the Soviet history of family and economic policies, are hard to implement in a radically different post-socialist context.

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

(opendemocracy.net – Inna Leykin – September 25, 2017) Inna Leykin is an assistant professor of anthropology at the Department of Sociology, Political Science and Communication at the Open University of Israel. Little Alesha is pushing his stroller down the boulevard. While he practices his new walking skills, Nadia, Alesha’s mom, laments the insufficiency of daycare in the city: “I’ve heard […]

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NEWSLINK: “Russian life expectancy reaches a record 72.5 years” – bne Intellinews/

Medical Symbol with Pole, Serpents, Wings, adapted from image at lanl.gov

“The average life expectancy of Russians reached 72.5 years for the first time in history … according to Rosstat … men’s life expectancy increased by a year from 66.5 to 67.5 years and for women it was 77.4 years. During the worst of the economic crisis that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union in the 1990s, male life expectancy fell to […]

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Russians’ Tolerance for Foreigners at All-Time High

Russian Migrant Workers file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – August 24, 2017) Negativity towards foreigners in Russia has reached an all-time low, according to the results of a new poll produced Levada Center. Russians who said they’d like to restrict one or more nationalities from the country fell to its lowest level ever at 54 percent, down from 70 percent in 2016, and an […]

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Life Expectancy in Russia Reaches 72 Years for First Time

Medical Symbol with Pole, Serpents, Wings, adapted from image at lanl.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – August 15, 2017) The average life expectancy in Russia has for the first time exceeded 72 years, deputy prime minister Olga Golodets said on Monday. According to data from the federal statistics agency Rosstat, the average life expectancy reached 72.4 in the first half year of 2017, she was cited as saying by the state-run […]

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NEWSLINK: “Russia’s Villages, and Their Way of Life, Are ‘Melting Away'” – New York Times/ NEIL MacFARQUHAR

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

“… With Russia’s natural population growth entering an extended period of decline, villages like Baruta are disappearing from across the country’s continental expanse. * * * Russia’s demographic problem dates back at least 100 years, to the upheaval of the 1917 revolution, followed by Stalin’s purges in the 1930s. Both events curbed population growth, foreshadowing the devastating impact of World […]

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State Duma committee approves text of Russia’s naturalization oath

Russian State Duma Building file photo

MOSCOW. July 4 (Interfax) – The State Duma Committee on Constitutional Legislation and State Building has approved the text of the naturalization oath of allegiance to Russia. This is an amendment to the draft law, which deprives convicted terrorists of Russian citizenship. It will be considered by the State Duma on Wednesday, on July 12. The oath is as follows, […]

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World War II Continues to Have Demographic Impact on Russia, Vishnevsky Says

Battle of Stalingrad file photo

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, July 4, 2017) The periodic increases and current decrease in the number of births in Russia reflects the third echo of World War II, Anatoly Vishnevsky says, with the low number of births in 1943 leading to demographic declines approximately every 25 years thereafter. The current decline is almost precisely 75 years […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting on economic issues

Kremlin and River

(Kremlin.ru – June 19, 2017) Vladimir Putin held a meeting on economic issues at the Kremlin. Various aspects of national demographic policy were the main items on the agenda. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues, Today, we will have a comprehensive discussion of demographic policy. As you know, for the subject came up during the Direct Line too, […]

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NEWSLINK: “Russia enjoys third year of natural population growth” – bne Intellinews

File Photo of Screenshot of Vladimir Putin in Twitter Video of Trailer of Oliver Stone TV Film Regarding Russia

“… According to Russian state statisticians, as of January 1, 2017, the population of Russia is almost 144.5mn excluding Crimea, whose annexation in 2014 is largely unrecognised by the international community. … In the 2010 census, ethnic Russians were found to make up 81% of the total population. In total, 160 different ethnic groups live within the Russian Federation’s borders. […]

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Declining Birthrates among Russians Leading to Further Demographic Decline, Rosstat Figures Show

Couple in Hospital with Newborn

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, June 4, 2017) Rosstat, the Russian government’s statistics agency, reports that during the first four months of 2017, Russians gave birth to almost 70,000 fewer children than they did in the comparable period a year earlier, a decline that wiped out all gains from declines in mortality rates and put Russia on […]

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Ten Percent Decline in Number of Births in Russia over Last Year Frightens Economists

File Photo of Crowd in Russia Including Person Waving Russian Flag with Eagle

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, April 29, 2017) Just before the May holidays, Russia’s state statistical agency released figures on births, deaths and marriages that Moscow may hope no one will notice because they are so bad; but Russian economists have sounded the alarm that the population decline they point to may make impossible for the Russian […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting with Minister of Labour and Social Protection Maxim Topilin

Kremlin and River

(Kremlin.ru – April 26, 2017) Vladimir Putin held a working meeting with Minister of Labour and Social Protection Maxim Topilin. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Topilin, I would like to discuss with you not only current social policy issues but also the upcoming trends that we will definitely encounter due to a number of objective circumstances. We are certainly […]

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‘Russia is the Only Country Dying Out in Peacetime,’ Villager Responds to Medvedev

Russia Regions Map

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, April 19, 2017) After Dmitry Medvedev can’t answer whether there will be work for villagers, one of their number observes that “Russia is the only country dying out in peacetime, where residents of rural areas and small towns are joining the ranks of the poor … and where 70 percent of the […]

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RUSSIALINK RBTH: “Be fertile and multiply: How to spur a baby boom, a la Russe?”

Couple in Hospital with Newborn

After an upswing from 2005 to 2015, Russia’s birth rate is once again declining. Meanwhile, mortality continues to grow, and the government needs innovative ideas and reforms to rectify the situation. Proposed measures, however, primarily benefit women and ignore the interests of men. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – YEKATERINA SINELSCHIKOVA, RBTH – April 21, 2017) Russia’s Education and […]

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Interfax: Over 265,000 people receive Russian citizenship in 2016, renunciation cases exceptional – Interior Ministry

Russia Map

MOSCOW. April 20 (Interfax) – The instances in which people file applications to give up Russian citizenship are very rare, Olga Kirillova, the head of the Russian Interior Ministry’s Main Migration Department, said on Wednesday. “The instances in which people give up Russian citizenship are negligible,” Kirillova told reporters. Valentina Kazakova, deputy head of the Main Migration Department, said over […]

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Russia Still Migrant Magnet Even as Wages Stay Below China’s

Russian Migrant Workers file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Olga Tanas – April 19, 2017) The vast pool of labor across Russia’s porous borders is relieving strains in the labor market, helping drain the economy of inflationary pressure as it accelerates after almost two years of recession. A steady flow of arrivals has continued even as shrinking wages and Russia’s worst currency crisis since 1998 […]

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NEWSLINK: “Where the Russians Are. A color-coded map of the U.S., showing which states have the highest percentage of Russian immigrants [2005/2000]” – Russian Life

United States Map

“North Dakota is not normally the place one thinks of as having a large Russian emigre population. Yet, according to 2000 US Census Data recently released, fully 3.5% of that state’s population, or 22,514 individuals, are of Russian extraction — the highest percentage in the nation. …”

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RUSSIALINK RBTH/Gazeta.ru: “Live longer! Putin calls for improving life expectancy. Russia’s leader hopes that by 2025 average life expectancy will reach 76 years. To achieve this target, authorities must combat not only alcoholism and drug addiction, but also reduce the number of road accident deaths.”

Man in Silhoette with Bottle of Alcohol and Head in Hand

“Russia’s leader hopes that by 2025 average life expectancy will reach 76 years. To achieve this target, authorities must combat not only alcoholism and drug addiction, but also reduce the number of road accident deaths. …”

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin] Meeting with Government members

Kremlin and River

(Kremlin.ru – March 14, 2017) Vladimir Putin held a meeting with Government members in the Kremlin. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues, We will begin with s number of current issues. The epidemic level seems to be on the decline, but the situation is still serious. Even Mr Medvedev could not stay out of harm’s way, and caught […]

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Russia Wants Immigrants the World Doesn’t;  While Europe and the U.S. tighten border controls, former Soviet states are encouraged by Moscow to send their workers.

Russian Migrant Workers file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Ragozin – March 14, 2017) [Text with photos here bloomberg.com/news/features/2017-03-14/russia-s-alternative-universe-immigrants-welcome] On a brutally cold February day, hundreds of laborers from Uzbekistan mill around in the snow and mud of a construction site 10 miles outside Moscow. Surrounding them are a series of unfinished 18-story apartment blocks meant to serve as homes for Russian military officers. […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Why Ukraine Is Dying A Slow Death (Literally)” – The National Interest/Nolan Peterson/Daily Signal

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

“Ukraine’s population decreased by about 170,000 people in 2016, the government reported … underscoring a demographic trend that began after the country declared its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, and which threatens to derail the country’s political and economic development. ‘This is a serious problem for the country,’ Alex Ryabchyn, a member of Ukraine’s parliament, told The Daily […]

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How Can Russia Reverse its Negative Demographic Trend?

Couple in Hospital with Newborn

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Pavel Aptekar – February 1, 2017) Russia has long had a demographic crisis. That is why, 10 years ago, leaders introduced “maternity capital” – a special program encouraging couples to have more children. Participants receive government payouts for every successive child after their first. Families must use the money for specific needs – paying off […]

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Moscow Unlikely to Achieve Life Expectancy Gains It had Projected, Health Ministry Admits

Medical Symbol with Pole, Serpents, Wings, adapted from image at lanl.gov

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, January 26, 2016) The Russian health ministry has changed its target figures on reducing mortality rates and extending life expectancy by 2020, a reflection experts say of the fact that the Russian government no longer expects to be able to improve the health of the population as much as it did. Ministry […]

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Demographic Collapse of Ethnic Russian Nation Seen Accelerating

File Photo of Crowd of Russians with One Waving Russian Flag

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, January 25, 2017) Russian demographers predict that the total population of the Russian Federation will be relatively stable over the next two decades but only because of massive immigration from Central Asia and the Caucasus and still high birthrates and relatively low death rates among the traditionally Muslim nationalities of Russia itself. […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Listen, liberal. Alexei Kudrin wants to liberalise Russia’s economy to save it. But with Donald Trump’s election, many Russians think Putin’s model is winning.” – The Economist

Alexei Kudrin file photo

“… Kudrin’s verdict was grim. Russia, he said, is at a low pace of economic growth even compared with the period of stagnation in the 1970s and 1980s that led to the Soviet collapse. The reasons go well beyond low #oil prices and Western sanctions: The main problems lie within Russia and they are structural and institutional.’ Russia lags far […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Despite political clout, Russian seniors find later life options limited; Though their numbers are increasing and their voting bloc powerful, elderly Russians generally lack either the savings or sufficient government pension to finance a comfortable retirement” – Christian Science Monitor/Fred Weir

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

“… Tradition remains strong here, and huge numbers of pensioners still live with their families. Millions more take refuge in state-run old age homes, which are of varying quality. Due to the unusual political strength of pensioners and war veterans in Soviet and now Russian society, publicly-run facilities for the elderly have always been relatively well-resourced and are currently under […]

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