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In August, the government reported that the natural population decline in the first six months of the year was 265,500 people, with a 3.1 percent increase in mortality and a 5.4 percent decrease in births.
Speaking to national radio station Kommersant FM, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov noted that the country has two “demographic holes” that are contributing to the decline in citizens: the ripple effect of the loss of life in the war against Nazi Germany, back in the 1940s, and the lack of children born during the 1990s. In 1999, Russia’s birth rate had dropped to 1.16, lower even than during World War Two.
“Do not forget that our country lost 30-something million people during the Second World War, and we have few(er) women who can bear children.” Peskov said.
In the past couple of years, the Russian government has sought to develop new initiatives to attract foreigners to the country. It is now much easier for those with Russian relatives to obtain a Russian passport, and the acquisition of nationality has been simplified for people residing permanently within the borders. This summer, legislation signed off by President Vladimir Putin also dropped the requirement for foreigners to renounce their old citizenship to become Russian.
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