Old Saint Basil's Cathedral in MoscowJohnson's Russia List title and scenes of Saint Petersburg
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#16 - JRL 2006-141 - JRL Home
Putin says Russia facing demographic crisis

MOSCOW, June 20 (RIA Novosti) - Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday that Russia's demographic problems are critical, and that urgent action needs to be taken.

"If nothing is done, Russia's population will halve by the end of the 21st century," Putin said at a session of Russia's Security Council.

The United Nations earlier warned that Russia's population - which stood at roughly 145 million in a 2002 census - could fall by as much as a third by 2050.

"We are facing a critical line - during the last 13 years the number of dead [Russian] citizens exceeded the number of new-borns by 11.2 million people," Putin said.

Demographic problems dominated the president's May 10 state of the nation address, when he said the population was falling by 700,000 people a year and instructed the government to give women at least 250,000 rubles ($9,200) each as financial aid following the birth of a second child.