Saturday, May 7, 2011

Putin Promises to Boost Birth Rates and Life Expectancy

Vladimir Putin has promised to spend £33 billion to boost the country's flagging population by up to a third over the next four years, during a two-and-a-half hour speech that appeared to gear him up for a 2012 presidential run.

On the country's declining population, he pledged to boost the country's birth rate by between 25 and 30 per cent by 2015.

"According to preliminary calculations, between 2011 and 2015 some 1.5 trillion roubles will be invested in demography projects," he said. "First, we expect the average life expectancy to reach 71 years. Second, we expect to increase the birth rate by 25 to 30 per cent in comparison to the 2006 birth rate."

Read it all here.
MercatorNet has this comment:
It is interesting to note that 2006 is taken as the benchmark date where the birth rate increase will be measured from. Why not take the recent census data as the starting point? An answer may be found in the fact that according to the Population Reference Bureau’s 2006 Population Data Sheet, the Russian birth rate was around 10 births per 1000 people. An increase of 25 - 30% on that number would take the birth rate to around 12.5 - 13 births per 1000 people. And what do you know? According to the latest census data, the current Russian birth rate is 12.6 births per 1000 people. Thus, it seems that Prime Minister Putin’s target has been reached without a rouble being spent! That is the mark of a successful politician – pick a target that has already been reached and then throw lots of money at it and then point to the fact that you’ve reached your target as proof that your policies work. However, on the other hand at least the average life expectancy target of 71 years has not yet been reached according to the latest census. So, what will the money be spent on?

“Under the plan, the government would build more affordable housing for families, promote a healthy lifestyle and stop the country's brain drain. Previous schemes have seen cash incentives given to parents with two or more children to be spent on housing and education…He promised to stem Russia's population decline by supporting young families and improving health care…”

Perhaps some of the money should be sent on ensuring that members of the Russian Government attend the first international demographic summit being held in June and organised by the World Congress of Families. To sweeten the deal, the cost of sending delegates will not be very high at all – in fact they won’t even have to leave Moscow!

Of course, all of this means that Russia should be the case study par excellence for those seeking a reduction in the Earth’s population. Want to reduce the number of human beings on this Earth? Just follow Russia’s lead. But don’t be surprised when you see its leaders trying to drag it in the opposite demographic direction.

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