Moscow Doesn’t Have A Real And Consistent ‘Demographic’ Policy – OpEd


The Kremlin says it wants to increase the birthrate in Russia, but its policies under the label of “demography” are all about providing subsidies to the poor, an approach that has only the most indirect connection with boosting the birthrate, Yevgeny Chernyshov says.

The Nakanune commentator who specializes on demographic issues argues that the powers that be are promoting something that won’t have the results they want and may even make the overall situation worse by driving more people into poverty rather than lifting those already there (

According to Chernyshov, “the authorities aren’t really going to support families.” They do not set any real demographic goals. Instead, everything Putin calls for and everything Moscow is doing is “limited to the fight against poverty, something that has only very distant relations to the birthrate.”

And that leads to contradictions and failures, he continues. While more than 70 percent of Russians believe that men should be the primary breadwinner in families, government policy ignores them and focuses on women alone. Among its aspects are programs to “further equalize women’s wages with men’s.” But that will “lower men’s wages” and family incomes further.

The broader intangible situation “may be even worse” in Putin’s Russia, Chernyshov says. Moscow has adopted the globalist strategy of “sustainable development.” But that strategy, as historian Andrey Fursov says, is one that can lead to “a velvet genocide” in which birthrates will continue to fall. It is not clear that officials understand this contradiction.

“For the birth rate to go up,” he argues, “the country and people need to be given meaning” and hope. There overall situations need to be improved and they need to have hope for the future that any children they do have will be living in.

But Chernyshov says that “the trouble is that the country doesn’t need people. The authorities are obsessed with digitalization and AI which will displace ‘the superfluous.’” If Russia is to address demographic issues in a serious way, it must focus on these difficulties rather than assuming more babies are what Russia needs and that targeted aid will work.

Paul Goble

Paul Goble is a longtime specialist on ethnic and religious questions in Eurasia. Most recently, he was director of research and publications at the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy. Earlier, he served as vice dean for the social sciences and humanities at Audentes University in Tallinn and a senior research associate at the EuroCollege of the University of Tartu in Estonia. He has served in various capacities in the U.S. State Department, the Central Intelligence Agency and the International Broadcasting Bureau as well as at the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Mr. Goble maintains the Window on Eurasia blog and can be contacted directly at [email protected] .

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