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1 Sep, 2020 13:27

Deaths from coronavirus & effect of pandemic on immigration sees Russian population predicted to drop by 158,000

Deaths from coronavirus & effect of pandemic on immigration sees Russian population predicted to drop by 158,000

With the Covid-19 pandemic causing thousands of premature deaths, as well as restricting the amount of inward migration, Russia is expecting a significant decline in its population this year, according to government projections.

The number of people in Russia is estimated to decrease by 158,000 in 2020, five times more than last year, which was just 32,100. The last time the country saw a larger drop was 2006, when the population fell by 373,900.

In recent years, Russia’s population has been shrinking. The country is seeing more deaths than births, and there aren’t enough migrants to compensate for the natural decline. According to Moscow daily RBK, the federal government plans to reverse this trend, and believes the country could achieve positive population growth rates by 2022.

Also on rt.com Putin signs law allowing foreigners to become Russian WITHOUT giving up existing citizenship

However, any attempts to grow the country’s population may have been temporarily thwarted by the Covid-19 pandemic. In the first six months of 2020, natural population decline has already reached 265,500 people, with mortality increasing by 3.1%. At the same time, the country’s birth rate decreased by 5.4%.

In the past year, the Russian government has begun work on new initiatives to attract foreigners to the country. It is now much more straightforward to obtain a Russian passport for those with Russian relatives, and the acquisition of nationality has been streamlined for people who reside permanently within the country. A newly signed law also dropped the requirement for foreigners to renounce their old citizenship in order to become Russian. 

In July, Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova said that Russia will begin to “look at migration problems from a different angle,” with the goal of attracting “very qualified personnel.” 

Also on rt.com ‘High-quality migrants' wanted: Russian Deputy PM says pandemic has given Moscow time to rethink immigration policy

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