Russia’s Actions in Georgia May Result From Underpopulation Due to Abortion

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Aug 18, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Russia’s Actions in Georgia May Result From Underpopulation Due to Abortion

by Steven Ertelt Editor
August 18
, 2008

Moscow, Russia ( — Russia recent actions involving a military invasion of neighboring Georgia have mostly been covered from diplomatic and political perspectives. But one leading population expert says Russia’s actions may be explained in part because of the underpopulation crisis there due to extensive numbers of abortions.

Russia, like many of its neighbors in Eastern Europe, is experiencing severe underpopulation thanks to abortion being used as a method of birth control for decades.

The nation doesn’t have enough workers to keep its economy strong and Barry McLerran, producer of "Demographic Winter," a documentary on underpopulation problems, says that could have motivated the nation to expand by taking over Georgia.

"Russia has one of the lowest birth rates in the world at 1.17 children per woman," he told "A nation needs a birth rate of 2.1 just to replace current population."

"Because of its low birth rate and early deaths — due to disease and other factors — Russia is losing approximately 750,000 people a year," he explained.

Most demographers generally believe that Russia’s current population of 144 million will fall to 115 million by 2050. But Murray Feshbach, with the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, thinks Russia’s population will drop to 101 million and could go as low as 77 million by mid-point in this century.

Russia is trying desperately to bolster its sagging birth rate. For every child that a family has after the first, the Russian government pays parents the equivalent of $9,200.

There’s even a "National Day of Conception." None of it seems to be working.

"So, where does a nation with a plummeting birthrate find people? How will Russia hold the largest land mass of any country in the world with a population of 115 million – or 77 million? Where will it get the labor to fuel its economy and man its defenses?" McLerran asks.

One answer is territorial expansion that will incorporate other populations into the nation.

Putin has made it clear that he considers the breakup of the Soviet Union a tragedy. Prior to 1991, the Ukraine and Georgia were part of Russia, McLerran explains.

He adds that some observers believe Putin’s endgame is not just to seize Georgia (with a population of 4.6 million), but, more importantly, the Ukraine, with 46 million people — thus increasing Russia’s current population by 40% in one fell swoop.

"Doubtless, Moscow would also benefit from the thriving economies of Georgia and the Ukraine as well. Georgia’s economy increased by 12% in 2007, while the Ukraine’s grew by 7%," he said.

"But what oil-rich Russia needs now, more than anything else, is more people. This may be a significant factor driving its adventurism in the Caucuses," he added.

Related web sites:
Demographic Winter –


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