Geographia Polonica (2000) vol. 73, iss. 1

Full text

The demographic status of and perspectives for the Russian Federation

Piotr Eberhardt

Geographia Polonica (2000) vol. 73, iss. 1, pp. 63-76

Abstract

The paper presents the demographic problems of the Russian Federation. The demographic developments in Russia to date are first shown. In spite of two World Wars and the enormous losses incurred by the Russian population, this population continued to feature strong demographic dynamics until the disintegration of the Soviet Union began. The turning point came during the 1990s, as difficult politico-economic conditions brought an abrupt decline in the birthrate along with an increase in mortality. The population then started to decrease. The subsequent part of the paper presents the demographic forecasts for Russia. They are pessimistic indeed, showing that the 50 years to come will see the population in Russia decreasing steadily. The author outlines the socio-economic consequences of this already persistent phenomenon, and shows that the demographic decline in Russia may have quite fundamental geopolitical repercussions. Indeed, this question has become the focus of a very broad scientific discussion in Russia, so the paper presents the views of numerous Russian demographers and politologists. Many of these opinions are of an alarmist character and sere to inflame the political atmosphere in Russia.

Keywords: population of Russian Federation, demographic forecasts, socio-economic consequences, demography and geopolitics

Piotr Eberhardt [p.ebe@twarda.pan.pl], Institute of Geography and Spatial Organization Polish Academy of Sciences, 00-818 Warsaw, Twarda 51/55, Poland