Russia Far (and Empty) East

For more than a decade, the country’s population has steadily shrunk from 150 million in the early 1990s to just more than 140 million today. According to official statistics, unless the situation changes, the Russian population will drop to 80 million by 2050, leaving the country’s Far East virtually vacant.’

However, particularly the remote far eastern regions are being abandoned in what seems to be a flow of migration towards the west which obviously is set to have important consequences should the trend not be reversed.

‘Russian officials concede that the country’s Far East risks becoming a no man’s land. The population in the area has declined by 20 per cent in the last 15 years, despite a revival of the regional economy, Kamil Iskhakov, the presidential envoy to the Far East said on in mid-May. “People are leaving because they can not find acceptable living conditions,” he told an 18 May meeting in Khabarovsk.

Improving the demographic situation is a “matter of survival” for the Koryak Autonomous District, said governor Oleg Kozhemyako. The region still faces high mortality rates and significant population outflows, he conceded on 10 May.’

And this should be seen in the light of a especially well endowed territory which, at least at a first glance, bodes well for opportunities.

‘The Russian Far East comprises 13 regions, stretches over 40 per cent of Russia’s territory, and is home to vast natural resources, including virtually all of the country’s diamonds, two-thirds of its gold deposits, and major timber and fishery resources.

Yet despite these opportunities, in recent years many Russians have been moving back to the European part of the country from the remote regions of Siberia and the Far East. As such, Russia’s expansionist trend of the past several centuries is being reversed, leaving hardly populated stretches in the Asian part of the country.’

As the article also reports, Kremlin is hard at work to reverse the demographics trends in Russia and specifically the Eastern regions, will Moscow come through?

by democracy matters


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