In 2021, Russia witnessed an unprecedented population decline: the number of deaths exceeded 2.4 million people. This is the highest figure since 1945. Natural decline, excluding migration, came very close to the 1 million mark. Irreversible consequences, provoked by the demographic catastrophe, are already taking place in Russia.
The reasons for the permanent reduction of the population in the Russian Federation are complex and reflect an economic and social regression. According to the Russian Ministry of Health, mortality rates for men aged 35-40 are twice as high as for women. This can be explained by Russia’s inherent social degradation: widespread alcoholism, an unhealthy lifestyle among most Russians, especially among the younger generation, and the low quality of medical services. Economic problems include low wages. Even Russian officials admit that a working person in Russia can live in poverty. Therefore, constant poverty forces Russians to save on medicines and buy the cheapest food products, which may contain harmful ingredients. In turn, the lack of visible prospects and hopes for improvement provoke social depression, many young people simply do not want to create families, to have children, because it is impossible to provide them with proper living conditions, development opportunities or education. No surprise that Russia is among the top ten countries based on the number of suicides.
The coronavirus epidemic hit Russia particularly hard in 2021. Accurate statistics on mortality are classified so as not to spread panic among Russians. The ineffectiveness of Russian vaccines against the background of the ban on the importation of foreign vaccines led to the fact that Russia may have been world leader in mortality as a result of the pandemic.
According to Putin, if the situation with population decline is not solved, in 10 years there will be no one to work in Russia. It is no secret that one of the reasons for the invasion of Ukraine was an attempt to artificially increase the number of Russians at the expense of Ukrainians. After 24 February, Russia forcibly deported more than 2.5 million Ukrainians, who were settled in remote, economically depressed regions, mainly in Siberia and the Far East. It is obvious that the notorious “10 years” announced by Putin is too short a period for a new, qualitatively different generation of Russians to emerge in Russia. Thus, Putin decided to simply kidnap the citizens of another country and forcibly make them into Russians. Ukrainians are hard-working, educated people, well adapted to different life circumstances, genetically healthier than the vast majority of Russians, so the Kremlin has long had its sights on Ukraine as a kind of “new blood” transfusion that Russia desperately needs.
But even by forcing Ukrainians into Russia, as well as by increasing the influx of migrant workers, Putin will not fix Russia’s demographic problem. In fact, 69 out of 85 Russian regions are dying out. In some of them, the national composition of the people living there has radically changed, and it is not just about the Caucasus. Even in the European part of Russia, in many provincial towns, the domination of migrants from Central Asia has worsened the crime situation. Russia desperately needs qualified personnel, people with higher education. Most likely, Putin’s remarks about the labour shortage will come true even sooner than in 10 years.
By trying to build a “Great Russia,” Putin has created a demographic catastrophe, as a result of which a huge country is dying out and its entire regions are in decline and desolation. The invasion of Ukraine is the last straw in Putin’s 23-year political orgy, killing tens of thousands of young, healthy men – the most “scarce” human resource in Russia. Putin’s Russia is a priori doomed to decline and is staring at extinction. For this is the universal law of evolution: development and progress can only come to countries that are not marked by evil and violence. Russia has always been a territory deprived of freedom, democracy and even simple humanity. Therefore the people who live there are doomed to face the most unfavourable end, which is exactly where Putin is leading them.