East-West Church & Ministry Report
Vol. 9, No. 3, Summer 2001, Covering the Former Soviet Union and Central and Eastern Europe

Russia's Population Meltdown

Murray Feshbach

In his first annual presidential address to the Russian people [July 2000], 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."

Editor's Note: The untold human suffering that Murray Feshbach's statistics represent should move Christians to recall Jesus' admonition that a cup of water given to the thirsty is a cup of water given to Him. "We must come to realize," writes Filipino InterVarsity leader Isabelo Magalit, "that unless our love is demonstrated in practical terms, our gospel of love will eventually sound hollow and unconvincing." Source: Paul R. Spickard and Kevin M. Cragg, A Global History of Christianity (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1994), 453.

Murray Feshbach, former branch chief at the U.S. Bureau of the Census and research professor at Georgetown University, is a senior scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars, Washington, DC. He is the author most recently of Ecological Disaster: Cleaning Up the Hidden Legacy of the Soviet Regime (1995).

Edited excerpt reprinted with permission from The Wilson Quarterly 25 (Winter 2001): 15-21.

Murray Feshbach, "Russia's Population Meltdown," East-West Church & Ministry Report 9 (Summer 2001), 11.

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© 2001 East-West Church and Ministry Report
ISSN 1069-5664

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