Russia’s population is expected to decline by 325,500 people this year — 11 times more than in 2019 (when the number of Russians fell by just 32,100 people) — according to the latest government projections, first leaked by the Telegram channel Maisky Ukaz and later confirmed by sources who spoke to the news outlet RBC. The estimated population loss in 2020 is now twice what the government anticipated in its last report, issued in August, when federal officials said Russia’s numbers would start growing again as soon as 2022.
According to the October report, Russia’s population will likely decline by 1.2 million people by 2024, falling steadily until 2030.
This July, Vladimir Putin instructed the federal government to adopt immigration policies that will ensure sustainable population growth by 2030. The new decree supersedes executive orders issued two years earlier when the president assumed the return of natural population growth by 2024.
According to Russia’s Federal State Statistics Service (Rosstat), the country’s natural population decline was 346,900 people between January and August 2020 (up from 219,200 people during the same period a year earlier). Over the first eight months of 2020, against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic, the mortality rate in Russia rose almost 6 percent, as 71,748 more people died than in the first eight months of 2019.
Rosstat says the coronavirus claimed 45,663 lives in Russia between April and August 2020. (This includes deaths where people who were diagnosed with COVID-19 died from other causes.)
Immigration into Russia also fell this year, as world travel ground to a halt. Between January and July, Russia’s migration inflow was just 65,300 people — down from 153,900 people during the same period in 2019. Over the first seven months of the year, migration inflow compensated for just 20.6 percent of Russia’s natural population decline.