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Demographic call-up
May 23, 2007 17:36

Today a new concept covering demographic policy up to 2025 is represented in Russia. In case all measures taken by the government and directed against the population crisis produce no expected result, the authorities intend to introduce a range of amendments for migrants from CIS countries and Baltic States to easy live and work in the RF.

The representatives from the White House in Moscow say the concept is the most long-term state document, as it is the first time in the modern history of Russia when something is planned for a period of 18 years.

The document implies two variants of how the demographic situation may change and develop. In keeping with the negative scenario, the population of the country is likely to decrease to 136 million people by 2015 and to 125 million by 2025. The average life interval will make up 64.5 years. Dmitry Medvedev, first vice prime minister, says that the negative variant exists, but it is not considered, as in this case the country itself is threatened with destruction. According to the positive scenario, the Russian population must increase up to 143-145 million people with the average life interval of 70 years.

The positive variant has to pass three stages. During the first stage, planned to be implemented by 2011, the government is going to stop or reduce the percentage of natural deaths. The second thing for the authorities to do is to make the birth rate exceed the death rate. Then new conditions for the population to grow will be created within the framework of the third stage. The government is going to introduce a number of social contributions, which will probably make up 2% of gross domestic product, for families having children in order to increase the birth rate. Besides, the expenses for health protection will grow from 3 to 6% of gross domestic product.

A bit clearer is the idea of fighting the death rate. The main cause of death in Russia, if take the men able to work, is alcohol poisoning. Thus, the authorities are going to form special first aid departments to treat acute poisoning. In case with drunkenness wide-spread among young people, the authorities set hopes for social programs on healthy life-style. The deputies dont believe that large fines or revoke of a license from shops selling alcohol to minors may work, as Russian teenagers can always ask their older friends to buy them a bottle of beer.

Nevertheless, the government seems to cover the negative variant, too. The demographic concept contains a so-called replacing migration scenario. Providing the birth rate ratio doesnt go up to 1.7 compared to the present 1.3 within next 7 years, the government will consider the variant of intensive migration, which first of all concerns simplification of the procedure of becoming a Russian citizen. People from the former soviet republics will be the most welcomed.

Interestingly, the document doesnt say anything about help to pensioners, though it is a way to bring down the population decline. Well, hopefully this time the government will show itself to the best advantage and provide for every eventuality to save the Russians from slow extinction.


Olga Pletneva


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