Russia population shrinks by half a million

Russia population shrinks by half a million

So far, a total of 71,651 deaths have been recorded in Russia where Covid-19 was given as the primary cause of death following an autopsy

The Russian population shrank by more than half a million over the past 12 months, the steepest fall since the mid-2000s. Credit: AFP Photo

The Russian population shrank by more than half a million over the past 12 months, the steepest fall since the mid-2000s, official data showed on Thursday.

As of January 1, 2021, the Russian population numbered 146.2 million, 5,10,000 fewer than the previous year and the sharpest decline in 15 years, the national statistics office Rosstat calculated.

While the agency did not offer an explanation, Russia, like many other countries, is currently suffering excess mortality as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

So far, a total of 71,651 deaths have been recorded in Russia where Covid-19 was given as the primary cause of death following an autopsy.

But at the end of December, the government conceded that the death toll was actually three times higher using a wider definition of the cause of death.

Russia's population has been in constant decline since the collapse of the USSR or Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in 1991.

The main factors behind this include the low birth rate, an average life expectancy of around 72 years, an unequal healthcare system and emigration.

Nevertheless, the population increased by more than 2.5 million in 2014 when Moscow seized Crimea from Ukraine in a move never recognised by the international community.