This week Russian president Vladimir Putin brought Boyz II Men to Moscow to "hopefully [give] Russian men some inspiration ahead of St. Valentine's Day," according to the Moscow Times. That is, Putin brought the music group to town to encourage love-making, and, he hopes, baby-making to offset Russia's demographic disaster.
But, according to statistics in a new book by Jonathan V. Last, it might have been a wiser move for Putin bring in a pro-life group instead. The book is titled What to Expect When No One’s Expecting.
Russia's demographic disaster, Last details, is being exacerbated by the fact that abortions are outpacing live births in Russia. "Abortion is rampant, with 13 abortions performed for every 10 live births," writes Last. "Consider that for a moment: Russians are so despondent about the future that they have 30 percent more abortions than births."
Last says that "This might be the most grisly statistic the world has ever seen. It suggests a society that no longer has the will to live."
But it is not just the astonishing abortion rate Russia must contend with. Last lists many factors.
"It seems to be a combination of factors. On the fertility side of the equation, patterns of family formation have changed dramatically since the end of the Soviet Union," writes Last. "Many couples choose long-term cohabitation as an alternative to marriage. In 1980, only 11 percent of births were to unwed mothers; by 2005 that number had shot up to 30 percent. Divorce has skyrocketed—Russia has the world’s high- est divorce rate."
The problem is staggering population decline. "Russia has experienced population decline three times during the last century," writes Last. "Each period was marked by crisis. The first depopulation came from 1917 to 1923, as the Russian Empire was overthrown and the Soviet Union was forged. The second came during 1933 and 1934 as Joseph Stalin collectivized the country’s farmers, resulting in mil- lions of deaths. The third came during World War II, which cost the lives of 25 million Russians. (Remember: No nation has experienced long-term prosperity in the face of contracting population.)"