Putin Urges Russians for More Babies, Citing Ethnic Survival

Russia Faces a Demographic Challenge Amidst Global Trends

by Zain ul Abedin
Putin Urges Russians for More Babies, Citing Ethnic Survival
© Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

In a bold move addressing Russia's looming demographic crisis, President Vladimir Putin has made a passionate appeal to the nation's citizens, emphasizing the urgency of increasing the birth rate for the sake of ethnic survival.

Amidst the backdrop of a declining population and exacerbated by the ongoing war in Ukraine, Putin's plea reflects a growing concern over the future of Russia's demographic landscape. At a recent appearance at a tank factory, Putin underscored the critical need for Russian families to expand their size to counteract the country's shrinking population, as reported by Reuters.

"If we want to survive as an ethnic group - well, or as ethnic groups inhabiting Russia - there must be at least two children," Putin stated, highlighting the necessity of larger families to ensure the nation's continuity.

The Russian President's remarks come at a time when the country's population dynamics are in a precarious state. Official statistics reveal that Russia's population stood at 146.4 million at the beginning of 2023, a noticeable decline from nearly 149 million in 1993, though it marks a recovery from a low point of around 143 million in the early 2010s.

The current situation is further strained by the casualties and displacement resulting from the war in Ukraine, with estimates by the UK's Ministry of Defence indicating that between 150,000 and 190,000 Russian soldiers have been killed or wounded since the conflict began.

Moreover, the war has prompted an exodus of approximately 1 million people from Russia, intensifying the challenges of brain drain and labor shortages.

Putin Advocates Larger Families

Putin's call for an increase in family size is not a new theme in his leadership.

In November, he lauded the value of large families during the World Russian People's Council in Moscow, encouraging women to have up to eight children or more. He described large families as a norm and a spiritual phenomenon, essential for the foundation of the state and society.

"The family is not just the foundation of the state and society; it is a spiritual phenomenon, a source of morality," Putin elaborated. This push for larger families by Putin mirrors similar sentiments expressed by leaders worldwide, facing comparable demographic challenges.

For instance, Chinese leader Xi Jinping, addressing China's demographic concerns, has recently advocated for establishing a "new trend of family." This call comes in the wake of China's significant policy shift from a one-child policy to a three-child policy in May 2021, marking a pivotal change in response to their demographic pressures.