Re: Acronyms and You - Russian Baby Adoption
- Dear Rdr. Philosoph,
Thanks for the information and the thoughtful comments.
Thank God that Russian abortions are decreasing every year, however, I
do not think it is because of Patriarch Alexei II's influence, unless
he is the cause of the significant decline in Russian fertility
associated with historic shocks to the country, usually imposed by
highly centralized governments too obtuse to realize what they were
doing to the plurality of Russians with their actions, policies etc..
Earlier this year, Putin even announced a policy to pay couples to
have children. In conditions of birth decline, abortion decline would
follow. Before directing you to an historical study of 20th century
Russian fertility through the 1990s, here are current statistics for
the Russian Federation:
Population: 142,893,540 (July 2006 est.)
0-14 years: 14.2% (male 10,441,151/female 9,921,102)
15-64 years: 71.3% (male 49,271,698/female 52,679,463)
65 years and over: 14.4% (male 6,500,814/female 14,079,312) (2006 est.)
total: 38.4 years
male: 35.2 years
female: 41.3 years (2006 est.)
Population growth rate:
-0.37% (2006 est.)
9.95 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)
14.65 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Net migration rate:
1.03 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 est.)
at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.94 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.46 male(s)/female
total population: 0.86 male(s)/female (2006 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 15.13 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 17.43 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 12.7 deaths/1,000 live births (2006 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 67.08 years
male: 60.45 years
female: 74.1 years (2006 est.)
Total fertility rate:
1.28 children born/woman (2006 est.)
Source: CIA Factbook. Updated October 2006.
For an historical look at Russian birth declines through the 90s, see:
"Fertility Decline and Recent Changes in Russia: On the Threshold of
the Second Demographic Transition," by Sergei V. Zakharov and Elena I.
Read the report here:
And below I've pasted in an excerpt from that study highly relevant to
our discussions of the Moscow Patriarchate and the Putin regime:
"It was in late 1991 that, for the first time in the postwar history
of the Russian population, the number of deaths exceeded that of
births. In 1992 the negative natural change amounted to 219,800, or
1.5 per 1,000. An even greater decrease was recorded in 1993, with a
750,300 natural decrease in population, or 5.1 per 1,000. This natural
decrease was larger than the positive change due to net immigration
and resulted in a total population decrease by 30,900 in 1992 and by
307,600 in 1993.
Russia has entered the stage of negative population change. The era of
postwar population growth, determined predominantly by natural
increase, has come to an end. The first postwar decade saw a high
natural increase, whereas during the second one its rapid decline was
observed. The subsequent two decades brought a period of stability.
But by the late 1980s, this gave way to a steep fall in births and,
thus, in natural increase.
The mass media has increasingly overflowed with alarming articles on
population issues. Based on non-professional interpretation of
available vital statistics, they are calling "to save Russia from
depopulation." Such assertions ring of nationalism in today's
political context. The whole spectrum of conservative forces ("red,"
"brown," "green," etc.) would not miss an opportunity to manipulate
population data to contribute to the atmosphere of anti-democratic,
anti-reform, and anti-West sentiments.
As a result, the general public has been completely misled about
population issues. Rank-and-file citizens are inclined to draw a
direct link between the current economic slump and a demographic
crisis. Indeed, the rate of increase in the cost of living exceeds
that of income, and under such economic conditions it is not
surprising that some view giving birth to a child an irrational or
The present-day developments in Russia have much in common with those
observed in France and Germany many years ago, namely in the 1930s.
The Great Depression was accompanied by a demographic depression, and
public opinion was largely molded by an impressive comparison of
numbers of "coffins" ("crosses") to numbers of baby cradles. The
approaches then pursued in population data interpretation played a
role in supporting the patriotic sentiments of those years, which
developed an increasingly nationalistic and national-socialist tone.
Ordinary people are always inclined to associate setbacks in
population dynamics with those in the economy, and with some reason.
In all places and at all times, famine, war, and revolution have
tended to bring about a postponement of marriages, a fall in births,
and a rise in deaths.
In the twentieth century, Russia has suffered a series of social
cataclysms. The demographic crises which have followed have had
disastrous implications. They occurred in 1915-1921, 1928-1934, and
1941-1947. According to our lowest estimate, these three crises
lasting 6 years each and 7 years apart have accounted for a loss of 38
million people, including losses due to the deficit in births, excess
of deaths, and emigration. Thus, Russia was destined to accumulate an
enormous experience living in crisis and to reproduce the resulting
population decline effect in generations born a half century later."
I hope this helps fill out the context around the idea that Russian
orphans are a sign of fewer abortions as opposed to a fertility
decline in general. I would also look at the strong link between
widespread deprivation caused by what I would call a "Drink It Up"
economic policy at the top of Russia's elite ruling tower, where
wealth and benefits are disproportionately absorbed there before ever
"trickling down" to the great majority of Russians, particularly
outside of Moscow.
The reluctance of a government to decentralize reflects also a
reluctance of the elites in a society who people that government, to
share of their wealth. They lack the enlightened understanding that
investing in the infrastructure of one's country rather than sucking
it dry and walking away is the real way to build national wealth,
prosperity and a multiplier effect in advancement and productivity for
all. Rather, they think themselves worthy of centralized control and
even stunting of the growth of the majority or plurality of their
countrymen. If you ask me, that is the least patriotic way to run a
country, and certainly the most selfish.
A priority historical lesson of the 20th century was that rigid
ideologies and centralized leaderships caused untold misery, suffering
and ill-results for all nations, and, for their own people.