Demographic results of the Putin era – Rosbalt

There are different ways to assess the effectiveness of the social and economic policy of the state. For example, you can take as a basis the average income level of a country. However, today this parameter is considered not the most effective, as the result is the “average temperature in the hospital.” But there is one, perhaps the most objective indicator – demographic.

It is not so difficult to manipulate the consciousness of individuals and even entire layers, but society as a whole cannot be deceived. And if people’s lives deteriorate significantly, then the statistics for the next year show the corresponding dynamics: the birth rate is declining, the death rate is growing. And vice versa.

Of course, in a modern urbanized society, it will probably not be possible to return to significant population growth rates, but the high level of natural population decline in a particular country clearly signals that most people feel bad there.

Let’s see from this angle what has happened in this area over the past 20 plus years in Russia.

The natural decline in the population of Russia in 2020, as we predicted in a previous publication on this topic, amounted to almost 700 thousand people. To be precise, the preliminary Rosstat data show that in December-January last year, natural decline (which is the difference between the number of births and deaths in the country) amounted to about 689 thousand people. This is more than twice the same indicator in 2019 (317 thousand people). Thus, the population decline in Russia in 2020 became a record over the past 15 years – there was more only in 2005 (847 thousand people).

It is important to note that the natural decline in 2020 reached this scale not only due to a decrease in the birth rate (last year it decreased by 48 thousand people compared with the birth rate in 2019, but a year earlier the decline in the birth rate was many times greater – 120 thousand people ), how much primarily due to the sharply increased mortality. In 2020, a little more than 2.124 million people died in the Russian Federation, which is 323.8 thousand people more than in 2019. For comparison: in 2019, compared to 2018, the death rate in the country, according to official data, even decreased by 27 thousand people.

It is no less significant that such a sharp surge in mortality is explained not only (and not even so much) by the COVID-19 pandemic. If, again, you believe the official data published by the Communication Center of the Government of the Russian Federation on the website stopcoronavirus.rf, as of February 3, 2021, “only” 75,205 people died from covid in Russia. This means that the pandemic gave only a quarter of the total increase in deaths in 2020, and three quarters of the additional 323.8 thousand deaths died from other causes.

There are several versions of why this happened. For example, it is quite logical to assume that medical care for those suffering from other diseases at that time became almost inaccessible to the population. A significant part of doctors, including oncologists, specialists in cardiovascular diseases, were thrown into the fight against COVID-19, which is why the medical care “sagged” in their profile (and cancer, strokes and heart attacks in total traditionally account for most of the causes death in Russia). There are cases when it was possible to get to specialized specialists at least for the initial appointment no earlier than two to three weeks after the appointment. And this is in Moscow. What can we say about small towns and rural areas …

Another obvious reason for the increase in mortality is the deterioration of the economic situation of the population – inflation, an increase in direct and hidden unemployment, and delays in wage payments.

One cannot fail to note the peculiarities of Russian covid statistics. As noted above, according to official data, since the beginning of the epidemic in Russia, 75.2 thousand people have died of covid infections. However, the counting technique is questionable. According to Rosstat, cited by RBC, from April to September 2020 alone, the number of deaths from COVID-19 in the country amounted to 55,671 people, while only 31,969 people indicated it as the “main cause of death”. Which of these numbers to add to get an overall picture for the entire pandemic is left to the discretion of statisticians. However, even without taking into account the consequences of covid, it is clear that the natural population decline in Russia in 2020 continued to grow at a high rate.

In addition, in 2020 in Russia, not only natural loss increased sharply. The total population of the country has also decreased by more than half a million people. Let us explain. In contrast to such an indicator as natural population growth / decline, the “total population” column also takes into account migration growth.

So, the total population of Russia for the year decreased by almost 507 thousand people – from 146.745 million as of January 1, 2020 to 146.238 million as of the same date in 2021. And this is despite a small increase in migration for the year! Which, however, as experts on migration from INSAP RANHiGS Nikita Mkrtchan and Yulia Florinskaya, will be the lowest in many years – from 110 to 120 thousand people.

Of course, the demographic collapse of 2020, at the very least, can be attributed to a pandemic and an economic crisis. But Vladimir Putin has been Russia’s sovereign master for over twenty years – in fact, since August 1999, when he was appointed head of government. Moreover, it was in this year, thanks to the devaluation of the ruble in the crisis of 1998 and the beginning of the rise in world oil prices, that the country’s economy began to grow. However, demographic indicators show us that the surge of petrodollars that poured into Russia did not affect the well-being of wide sections of the people. The natural decline in the population of Russia in 2000, the first year of Putin’s presidency, amounted to 958 thousand people. In 2001 – 943 thousand, in 2002 – 935 thousand, in 2003 – 888 thousand, in 2004 – 792 thousand, in 2005 – 846 thousand …

Only by the first half of the 2010s, the decline in the country began to gradually decline, and in 2013–2015 there was even a slight increase in the population – from 24 to 32 thousand people a year. Naturally, this modest success could not compensate for the colossal human losses of the previous two decades (the decline in Russia began in 1992). Moreover, since 2016, the population decline in Russia has resumed and is now growing at about the same pace as in the “damned nineties.”

In order not to tire the reader with unnecessary numbers, let’s summarize. During Putin’s rule (from 2000 to 2020 inclusive), the natural population decline in Russia amounted to a total of about 8.8 million people. Moreover, most of these twenty years fell on the era of high world prices for the main export goods of the Russian Federation – oil and gas. However, the demographic results convincingly indicate that the super profits all these years went mainly not to the socio-economic development of the country and the people, as the propaganda convinces us, but obviously to something else.

Alexander the Great


Source: Росбалт by www.rosbalt.ru.

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