Thursday, February 21, 2008

Russia's demographic time-bomb

Two articles currently up on Policy Innovations paint very different pictures of Russia. In Russia and the New Great Game, Sacha Tessier-Stall looks at the emergence of Russia as a player in global energy markets and Chess Takes World, by yours truly, details Russia's decline as the sole chess superpower.

So which is the true face of Russia? The once powerful bear in a desperate search for the glory of lost empire? Or the resurgent modern petro-state with money and muscle to spare?

I don't pretend to have the answer. But, when it comes to Russia, my mind often turns to the question of demographics. Russia is 621,00 square miles in size, with a population of 141 million. That makes it twice the size of the United States, with half the people. That does not bode well for a country with 2,300 mile border with China.

Russia is blessed with an abundance of resources save the one that matters most: people.

1 comment:

Amanda said...

Lack of people and declining population is definitely a problem that Russia and a good portion of Western Europe will have to address soon. With less babies being born and more people living longer, there is a serious threat being posed to economic prosperity. According to one online article, by 2030 Europe will have 18 million fewer children and young people than today while there will be two people of working age for every one aged over 65. Personally, I think it is great that Europe's birth rate continues to decline in a time where our world population is increasing exponentially and maxing out our world's resources. Russia definitely does not have the worst of issues when you compare their problem to places like India where their population is uncontrollable. But as long as their population continues to decline, Russia will have very slim chances on reemerging as a major global power.