Guest article: “Russian demographics, winter or spring?”

On September 2nd, 2014, Masha Gessen published in the reference magazine New York Review of Books (NYR) an article with a provocative title, , illustrated by a lugubrious winter picture, taken in 1997 at the train station of a small town southwest of Moscow, Aprelevka. […]

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Between 1991 and 1999, the Russian birth rate collapsed, and at the same time mortality exploded, so that the population of the country dropped significantly, by almost 1 million people a year. Russia was then in the hands of an elite determined to let the country collapse, in what was presented as an economic transition that seemed out of control, at least within the borders of Russia. During this period, the collapse of the population was historically unprecedented, even worse than what the country had seen during wartime. This demographic fall appeared hopeless and Russia seemed doomed to disappear.

In 2000, the year after Vladimir Putin took power, the birth rate started to rise again, having reached the very low rate of 8.3 per thousand in 1999. From then on, the birth rate has not ceased to increase. […]

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By Alexandra Latsa