The Russian Federation at the Dawn of the Twenty-first Century: Trapped in a Demographic Straitjacket
Russia today is on the verge of a demographic crisis. The combination of falling birth rates and rising death rates among the population poses a serious threat to the country’s long-term economic, health, and development prospects. While most countries are prone to experience such demographic shocks under conditions of instability or other disaster (e.g., war, famine, natural disasters), Russia’s problems with depopulation, experienced over the past decade under onditions of relative peace and stability, threaten to become a chronic dilemma for Russian policymakers. In spite of President Putin’s recognition of the acuteness of the demographic problems facing Russia, the situation remains dire. Although changing the direction of Russia’s demographic trajectory remains a formidable challenge, beyond mere rhetoric, the country’s political leadership and voting public continue to remain neglectful of the potential seriousness of Russia’s current, and future, demographic challenges.