Russia's Population Meltdown
Alarmingly high rates of disease and death, along with very low birth rates, threaten Russia´s survival as a nation.
In July 2000, in his first annual presidential address to the Russian people, President Vladimir Putin listed the 16 "most acute problems facing our country." Number one on the list, topping even the country´s dire economic condition and the diminishing effectiveness of its political institutions, was the declining size of Russia´s population. Putin put the matter plainly. The Russian population is shrinking by 750,000 every year, and (thanks to a large excess of deaths over births) looks likely to continue dropping for years to come. If the trend is not altered, he warned, "the very survival of the nation will be endangered."
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