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Russia in deep demographic crisis - expert

MOSCOW, July 7 (RIA Novosti) - The head of the Russian Federal Statistics Service said Thursday that the country was experiencing a demographic crisis.

Irina Zbarskaya told a RIA Novosti news conference that there was no quick fix to the "deep demographic crisis in Russia." She forecasted that the decline in the population would continue.

Although the birth rate had started growing slightly, Zbarskaya said the death rate was still high. Russia had the highest death rate among the developed countries, and 80% of the deaths were among economically active men. According to the service, 200,000 men died every year prematurely.

Zbarskaya said this led to distortions on the labor market and fewer families with both parents.

Deputy Health Minister Vladimir Starodubov had earlier said that the country lost about 600,000-850,000 people every year. He said women outlived men by 13 years in Russia.