The British current affairs magazine The Economist reported on the 4th (local time) that the war against Ukraine is turning Russia into a ‘population nightmare’.
According to reports, Russia’s population has fallen by an additional 2 million over the past three years compared to peacetime due to the effects of war, disease and exodus.
The life expectancy of a 15-year-old male has been reduced by five years, and a distorted population structure has been established where the female population outnumbers males by more than 10 million due to conscription and deportation.
It’s not hard to find countries showing a declining population, but steep declines like Russia’s are not uncommon, the Economist noted.
Russia’s population previously peaked at 149 million in 1994, then went downhill and appeared to be recovering from 2007.
But in 2020-2021, the population decreased by 1.3 million, and the situation worsened again, with the number of deaths exceeding the number of newborns by 17,000.
By ethnicity, Russians saw the biggest decrease, falling from 78% to 72% of the total population between 2010 and 2021.
The United Nations predicts that if Russia’s population declines at the current rate, it will drop to 120 million within 50 years, making it the world’s 7th most populous country after China, India, the US States, Indonesia, Brazil and Nigeria do.
The Economist pointed to the war, which began in February last year, as one of the main causes of the decrease in population, and found that “it appears that the decrease in population has entered the ‘loop of destruction’ ‘.”
According to the West, it is estimated that between 175,000 and 200,000 Russian soldiers have been killed or injured over the past year. Meanwhile, between 500,000 and 1 million young, educated workers fled abroad to escape the war.
It seems that the biggest impact on demography before the war was the Corona 19 pandemic (global pandemic).
Russia has officially put the death toll from COVID-19 at 388,000, but The Economist puts the actual death toll at between 1.2 million and 1.6 million.
This is a level of 850 to 1100 per 100,000 population, which is likely to have the highest number of deaths in the world after India.
The Economist predicted that Russia could face difficulties with regular military conscription this spring due to the population decline, and that plans to increase troops will also be disrupted.
In addition, it was analyzed that it could be difficult to raise the general level of education as educated personnel leave abroad more often. In fact, according to Russian authorities, 10% of information technology (IT) workers left Russia last year.