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Wednesday, May 10, 2006

2140: A Russian Space* Odyssey

Demographers project that Russia's population will decline by one third to about 100 million by the year 2050. In fact, some Russian sources claim the decline will be greater, up to nearly one-half (to as few as 85 million) in that time; however, there are other estimates that claim the decline will "only" amount to one-fifth (i.e., "just" 30 million Russians will disappear, far more than were killed by either Hitler or Stalin).

Taking the middle figure, this means that Russia will lose 45 million people in 45 years, or 1 million people per year.

This means that Russia is losing, on average, 2,739 people each day.

This means that Russia is losing 1.9 people every minute.

This means that at the end of the year 2140 Russia will be uninhabited.

La Russophobe would like to get hold of one of those countdown timers like the opposite of what they have for the national debt which could be installed on her blog to tick down from 145 million to zero at a rate of 1.9 ticks per minute. If there are any bright computer types out there who can supply her with one, please make contact.

La Russophobe observes that this issue gives rise to the age-old debate where Russia is concerned: Does this fact mean Russia is too authoritarian (i.e., it's current type of government is obviously failing) or not authoritarian enough (i.e., if only the government had more power, it could solve this problem). In other words, should the Kremlin be burying this issue, or bragging about it? La Russophobe dares to suggest that only a hair-brained and truly demented Russophile could say Russia is not authoritarian enough with a straight face.

La Russophobe also observes that in most other countries, stats like these would probably be cause for at least mild public alarm and fairly hotly contested elections. Yet, apparently Russians see the stats as a good thing, like Borodino and Stalingrad, and hence justification for a 70% landslide for Vladimir Putin without even the benefit of public debates. Putin probably sees the stats, in fact, as a wonderful basis for a vacation. After all, his organization (the KGB, of which he is so proud) spent years working tirelessly to kill off Russians, and now it seems they can simply sit on the sidelines drinking a cold pop, eating cheese doodles and watching the Russians do it all by themselves.

*NB: Just in case you didn't notice the pun, that's space as in "making lots of space by killing off all the people"

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