Can we manage a declining Russia?

An old woman begs for food on a busy street in Moscow on Feb. 17, 2009.

Article Highlights

  • Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Russia has been in the grip of an unrelenting demographic crisis

    Tweet This

  • From 1992 to the present, Russia's total population has reportedly fallen by almost 7 million (almost 5%)

    Tweet This

  • Can we manage a declining Russia? @HudsonInstitute

    Tweet This

Can We Manage a Declining Russia? Read the full text of Eberstadt and Shah's paper starting on page 118.

Download PDF
Over the decades since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the Russian Federation has been in the grip of an unrelenting demographic crisis. Admittedly, "demographic crisis" is a term that is thrown around these days with an all-too-promiscuous-and sometimes quite unwarranted-abandon. But the particulars of the Russian Federation's demographics travails provide empirical demonstration for the proposition that Russian society is beset by severe demographic paroxysms that are directly and adversely affecting both individual wellbeing and economic potential-and will do so for some time to come.

From 1992 to the present, the country's total population has reportedly fallen by almost 7 million (almost 5%).

Since the end of the Soviet era, the Russian Federation has witnessed a pronounced and continuing depopulation: from 1992 to the present, the country's total population has reportedly fallen by almost 7 million (almost 5%), with almost continuous year-on-year population declines. Russia, to be sure, was by no means the only country to experience population decline during these years-but the magnitude of the fall-off was exceptional. In absolute terms, the only drop larger than this one in the postwar era was the bout China suffered in the wake of Mao's catastrophic "Great Leap Forward" campaign (a decline in relative terms roughly similar to Russia's post-Communism population decline to date).

The Russian nation, of course, is no stranger to sudden bouts of depopulation: in fact, it has suffered four of these in the past century alone. The first three of these, however, were the consequences of war, political upheaval, and state-directed violence; depopulation ceased when the afflicting cataclysms abated. Today's depopulation by contrast proceeds in a time of peace-and requirements for reversing it are correspondingly not at all obvious.

Also Visit
AEIdeas Blog The American Magazine
About the Author

 

Nicholas
Eberstadt

 

Apoorva
Shah

What's new on AEI

AEI Election Watch 2014: What will happen and why it matters
image A nation divided by marriage
image Teaching reform
image Socialist party pushing $20 minimum wage defends $13-an-hour job listing
AEI on Facebook
Events Calendar
  • 27
    MON
  • 28
    TUE
  • 29
    WED
  • 30
    THU
  • 31
    FRI
Monday, October 27, 2014 | 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
State income taxes and the Supreme Court: Maryland Comptroller v. Wynne

Please join AEI for a panel discussion exploring these and other questions about this crucial case.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014 | 9:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
For richer, for poorer: How family structures economic success in America

Join Lerman, Wilcox, and a group of distinguished scholars and commentators for the release of Lerman and Wilcox’s report, which examines the relationships among and policy implications of marriage, family structure, and economic success in America.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014 | 5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
The 7 deadly virtues: 18 conservative writers on why the virtuous life is funny as hell

Please join AEI for a book forum moderated by Last and featuring five of these leading conservative voices. By the time the forum is over, attendees may be on their way to discovering an entirely different — and better — moral universe.

Thursday, October 30, 2014 | 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
A nuclear deal with Iran? Weighing the possibilities

Join us, as experts discuss their predictions for whether the United States will strike a nuclear deal with Iran ahead of the November 24 deadline, and the repercussions of the possible outcomes.

Thursday, October 30, 2014 | 5:00 p.m. – 6:15 p.m.
The forgotten depression — 1921: The crash that cured itself

Please join Author James Grant and AEI senior economists for a discussion about Grant's book, "The Forgotten Depression: 1921: The Crash That Cured Itself" (Simon & Schuster, 2014).

No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled today.
No events scheduled this day.