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, Russia decided to deal with its shrinking population and fertility crisis by doing what was for the rest of Europe almost unthinkable: encouraging the female 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 Russia, there was already a shift towards policy that could have this result, whether through promotion of marriage or the family unit. That could be simply due to another area of reform interest, given Russia leads the world in divorces. Still, many of the policies Russia is following coincide with population-growing objectives, regardless whether that is the explicit motivation for the policies being created in the first place.

In one example we have covered previously, Russian women who bear children on Russia Day are rewarded with prizes, like cars and electronics. We also see a cultural shift to stop Russian women from acquiring a biased, unremitting hatred towards the men they could have families with. For example, Russia does not offer degrees in "gender studies"; in the West, such curricula fosters a victim narrative that incubates female distrust and hostility towards men, dividing the population. Groomed to view any aspect of compromise as a sign of weakness and vulnerability, women are not open to pursuing relations that could lead to such. This, of course, means less marriages overall and, if that is the chosen pathway, more women attempting to be independent - if only to make a statement that they are "strong enough", a key tenant of feminist dogma. Arguably, the glorification of the strong, independent woman and demonization of men is even a pipeline to lesbianism. For obvious reasons, lesbianism is a birth rate killer, too.

For even more obvious reasons, the direct promotion of lesbianism has the same result. The same goes for promoting androgyny, or trying to make LGBT parades cool. Forget the religious arguments, or even the bodily health arguments; if native births are your focus, none of these things that result in sexual acts without fertilization can be a good thing.

In Russia, 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 in-person social contact. 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 clones, 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 lobbed in Russia's direction - "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, amidst that crisis, Russia is showing a pathway towards a solution that does not involve flooding the country with a foreign-imported population. Accordingly, one is more included to question the necessity of such a flood - especially when the negative consequences thereof become clearer. 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 Lerner Spectre's speech, which indicated that "Europe will not survive" without such a transformation, and speaks to the same assessment. Not surprisingly, Western mainstream media has moved from disseminating the same message as Spectre to dismissing Russia's efforts to find an alternative course of action while bluntly expressing that Russia's efforts would not work This was of course unwelcome - it becomes even worse when Russia can show that it has a viable alternative. Therefore, Russia has created a Trojan Horse of sorts; even initially, the public may wonder why, if the solution the West is trying to sell is so desirable, Russia is going a different path; but now, if the public can also see success in the Russian model, as well as the increasingly-clear downsides of the opposite path, pressure for reform can build.

One decade later, we see the truth. The West is trying to make the project that it has sold its population on to work. But increasingly, the West is busy trying to root out the spread of imported jihadist terrorism among its newest citizens. 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.