She sits astride 51% of the entire Asian continent and 49% of all Europe. Taking up a full 1/6 of the Earth’s landmass, Russia is a big country. Geographically, speaking.
She is a much smaller country in population at less than 148 million souls.
That has been a concern for a long time in places like the Kremlin. Faced with a growing Islamic population from the South and a growing Chinese population from the East, Russians have become quite anxious about decades of consistently declining white Slavic birthrates. In Moscow, folks around these parts have been wringing their hands in nervous desperation for quite some time.
How desperate you ask? Anxious enough to offer cash rewards to mothers who have babies, for starters. Active advertising on billboards, television and radio and in printed media.
Even desperate enough for the government to sponsor groups of young adults who go on wilderness retreats for the purpose of group pairing and group weddings. All in the name of self-preservation.
The first report card is in on those efforts and the folks inside those red brick walls are surely breathing a small sigh of relief. It’s not a tidal wave yet, but the country’s population had a natural increase of 1,000 people in August — its first monthly growth in 15 years, Health and Social Development Minister Tatyana Golikova reported this week.
Rediscovering sex is a good thing. Of course it isn’t exactly that the Russian people had forgotten about sex, but this is a country that for 40+ years has been aborting itself to death. Abortion rates have outpaced live births by dizzing factors in some post Soviet years.
Maybe the ordinary Natasha and Ivan are getting the message. If Russia is to survive in the annals of human history, somebody has to keep those babies. Children cannot be a throwaway commodity if Russia is to continue its existence.
The government reports that 151,700 births were registered last month, while 150,700 people died, she said. Russia’s population had been falling at a rate of 700,000 people per year earlier this decade.
At 700,000 per year, it doesn’t take long for 148 million people to eventually disappear from history.
One month doesn’t make a trend so perhaps breaking out the champagne bottles is a bit premature. But tonight at our home at least this one family will raise a small after-dinner toast to hope. Heck, it’s as good an excuse as any!