Let others make problems; you, happy Russia, make children

A little over a decade ago, two roads diverged in the world and Russia took the path less taken. More specifically, the country decided to deal with its shrinking population and fertility crisis by doing what was for the rest of Europe almost unthinkable: encouraging the women in its population to have babies (Recommended reading from 2007: Mass-breeding vs. hyper-immigration: ideological clashes in the midst of Europe's fertility crisis).

Russian president Vladimir Putin poses with a newborn Russian child

In recent years, Russia has made policies that promote things like marriage, the family unit and non-recreational sex. Some might be of the opinion that Russia just needed an overhaul; after all, the country leads the world in divorces. Still, many of the policies Russia is following coincide with population-growing objectives, regardless whether or not that is the explicit motivation for the policies being created in the first place.

In one example we have covered previously, Russian women bear children on Russia Day are rewarded with prizes, like cars and electronics. We also see things that may prevent Russian women from acquiring a biased, unremitting hatred towards the men they could have families with. Russia does not offer degrees in gender studies, nor does it promote androgyny, or try to make LGBT parades cool. In fact, LGBT parades have been shut down. Russia has not legalized gay marriage, at least not intentionally, preserving the exclusive incentive for Russian men and women to pair off and build families. Also, Russia has banned Pornhub and other internet pornography giants, arguing that this encourages social contact, which notably helps to preserve pro-procreative attitudes about sex. And Russia does not promote cultural figures who, like Miley Cyrus, play off that they are getting analized doggystyle on stage for kicks, or spread on stage for fans:

But most of all, Russia has not addressed the fertility crisis by pinning its future on importing a completely-foreign population like the West has, which arguably explains why the West has no qualms about promoting the things Russia has put an end to: gender studies, LGBT parades, a culture of Pornhub and Miley Cyrus wannabees, and so on. After all, there is no need to preserve or grow a population that is just going to be tossed aside for another anyway.

Needless to say, Russia's pathway was not well received in the West. In recent years, all the labels meant to induce shame have been tossed around and lobbed in Russia's direction - you know, "bigot", "xenophobe", "homophobic" and so on - because the rationale that Russia is just doing what it is doing to promote births is generally not accepted. Obviously, the big factor here is that the West is also facing a fertility crisis, and has shown that this crisis can be taken on without conflict with the principles that Westerners hold to be high value. The crux of the issue is that Russia has given the Western public reason to wonder why Russia elected a different pathway to mitigate the demographic crisis, while providing an alternative that Western ideologues - in Germany, France, the United States, the United Kingdom, etc. - simply wanted to casually pretend did not exist.

Indeed, those who are old enough will remember those very same leaders from Germany, France, the United States and the United Kingdom trying to spin their population-importing initiatives as something Westerners had no choice but to do. Thoughts go back to Barbara Spectre's speech, which indicated that "Europe will not survive" without such a transformation, and speaks to the same assessment. In fact, the Western media was part of this same barrage, dismissing Russia's efforts to find an alternative course of action while bluntly expressing that Russia's efforts would not work.

One decade later, we see the truth. The West is busy trying to make its project work. It is busy trying to root out the spread of imported jihadist terrorism. Meanwhile, the outskirts of Paris have been rocked by rioting young migrants and children of migrants who blame their atrocious behavior on inequality or mistreatment by police. Tensions are rising over integration costs, attacks by criminal migrant youth gangs and refugees treating their new homes like somebody else's mess. Rage is boiling over inadequate payouts for pensioners while refugees are put up in hotels and taken care of at full cost to taxpayers. Freedom of speech is no longer held up as a virtue, because people expressing their views about whether this project is working are identified as a burden that can pull the project further apart.

Meanwhile, Russia has had some success with its organic population growth initiatives. Abortions are down:

The Russian birthrate continued to expand up until 2010, plateauing slightly:

Onward from there, as the following shows (hat tip: Anatoly Karlin, Unz Review), the Russian birth continued to climb until 2012. That coincides with the year that the U.S. put heavy sanctions on Russia:

As that graph also indicates, the Russian birthrate began to plummet in late 2015 only to reverse course and climb upwards around August 2017. Interestingly, counting back nine months from August 2017 (nine months account for the average, 40-day pregnancy), we come to November 2016, the exact month of the defeat of U.S. Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton, who was given a 99% chance of becoming the next U.S. President and had been portrayed hand-in-hand with U.S. involvement in the Syrian Civil War against Russia and more tensions between the U.S. and Russia. Coincidence?

So, it is not clear that Russia's efforts to improve its birth rate from within and by its own means have failed. Rather, the setbacks coincide with major potential economic and political shakeups due to American foreign policy. What is interesting is, as one can see from the chart above, there is no change to the birthrate between 2013 and February 2015, a span of time covering the period of rising tensions with Ukraine and the complete escalation of conflict in the Donbass region, resulting in a proxy conflict between Russia and Ukraine that only ended with an early 2015 ceasefire. Hmm.

In any case, Russia's leader Vladimir Putin remains convinced that Russia can reverse its demographic doom organically, and has now set a target aggregate birthrate of 1.7 children per woman. Russian Faith has supplied us for the following translation for Putin's speech...

Addressing the Federal Assembly on Tuesday, President Putin began the substantive part of his speech by focusing on demography:
"Russia’s future and historical perspective depend on how many of us there are (I would like to start the main part of my Address with demography), how many children are born in Russian families in one, five or ten years, on these children’s upbringing, on what kind of people they become and what they will do for the country, as well as on the values they choose as their mainstay in life. There are nearly 147 million of us now. But we have entered a difficult, a very difficult demographic period. The measures we took starting in the mid-2000s have had a positive effect on demography. We have even reached a stage of natural increase. This is why we have more children at schools now."
As the nation's leader, he emphasized that the population is not merely one concern out of many. Rather, Putin said that every new government policy needs to take population concerns into consideration, as being of central importance. (more).

Further reading: Unz Review: The Federal Assembly Speech; Putin Vows to Rein in Capitalism and Shore Up Sovereignty

Apologies to Matthias Corvinus and Robert Frost for their appropriated quotes.