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A demographic disaster? 13 abortions for every 10 live births in Russia

Published: Friday, Feb. 8 2013 2:00 p.m. MST

Russian President Vladimir Putin

Associated Press

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According to author Jonathan Last, things like long-term cohabitation rather than marriage, divorce and abortions are contributing to major population declines in Russia, while Russian President Vladimir Putin is trying to fight back against a possible "demographic disaster."

The Weekly Standard reported that Putin brought Boyz II Men to Moscow on Feb. 6, saying that the band would "hopefully give Russian men some inspiration ahead of St. Valentine's Day."

The move was one of many Putin has taken or proposed to try to boost his country's declining population, including a "mother capital" policy that would pay women up to $10,000 to have a second child, The Financial Times reported in December. Putin's goal, according to a recent speech, is to make the three-child family the norm in Russia.

Russia's demographic disaster, Last said, is being exasperated by the fact that abortions are outpacing live births in Russia.

"'Abortion is rampant, with 13 abortions performed for every 10 live births," Last wrote. "Consider that for a moment: Russians are so despondent about the future that they have 30 percent more abortions than births."

This, Last said, might be "the most grisly statistic the world has ever seen," and it suggests a society that no longer has the will to live.

Read more about Russia's demographic trends on The Weekly Standard.

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