“People die or they leave” – TTG

The Angel of Death

Even before the pandemic struck, Gorokhovets, a picturesque medieval church town some five hours’ drive from Moscow, was dying. As other businesses struggle, at least one sector is growing: the settlement recently saw the opening of its third funeral parlour. “People either die or they leave,” said Yulia Balandina, the manager of one of the funeral homes. Ms. Balandina, pictured below, estimates that coronavirus has increased her workload by around 10 percent. Other funerals she has arranged in recent months point to different, long-standing problems in Russia: a father, mother and daughter who died on the same day after drinking bootleg alcohol together, and depressingly regular suicides among young men.

Russia’s population fell by almost 600,000 over the last year to 146 million, according to official statistics, in its sharpest decline in the past 15 years. This month, Russia reported its first fall in life expectancy since 2003. While the coronavirus pandemic is to blame for much of that fall, broader economic instability in Russia has also played a role, along with a generational echo of the disastrous drop in birth rates during the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Those figures pose a significant problem for President Vladimir Putin, who has said he is “haunted” by the prospect of a dying Russia and has made addressing an ongoing demographic crisis one of the priorities of his two decades in power. From the mid-2000s the downward trend did reverse, on the back of an improving economic situation and government efforts to reduce alcohol consumption. Authorities offered greater financial support for couples with several children and even revived a Soviet tradition of awarding medals to particularly prolific parents. The powerful, Kremlin-linked Orthodox Church also sought to promote an ideal of large families. But now the picture is bleaker. The state statistics agency Rosstat has provided three possible scenarios for the next 15 years. The most optimistic of these, which has been rejected by independent experts as unrealistic, projects the population will grow to 150 million people by 2036. The most pessimistic predicts a slump to 134 million, a fate that could await the country unless major changes are forthcoming. Mr Putin last year announced plans to offer parents extra state funding from their first child, which has previously only been offered to families with two children or more. (Theo Merz)

The full article continues here. I find it quite interesting where a Gorokhovets babushka lays the blame for the demise of her town.

In another article on this subject, Emerging Europe includes a chart showing population projection for much of Europe. It’s telling that the only countries projected to increase their populations over the coming decades are the ‘stans. Too bad the study didn’t include more of the world.

Comment: This is not just a Russian story. It is a world story, or at least a Western world story. Similar tales are told in small cities and towns across the US. And it’s certainly not a Covid 19 story. The deaths, long term health effects and lockdowns are leaving a toll, but it’s just a blip in the grand scheme of things. It’s a fertility story caused by a variety of reasons and an ensuing aging population story. I can’t think of a single aspect of human existence that this won’t effect, local and international economies, health care, immigration, the environment, obviously settlement patterns, military forces and the international balance of power. “Hold on to your butts.”

This entry was posted in Russia, Science, TTG. Bookmark the permalink.

52 Responses to “People die or they leave” – TTG

  1. The Twisted Genius says:

    That photo of Gorokhovets reminds me of Whittier, Alaska. Whittier, however, has a more industrial Soviet vibe. Even the old apartment buildings have a distinct Stalinesque look.

    • TV says:

      If I ever decide to commit suicide, I will go to Whittier.
      It is the most depressing place I’ve ever seen.

      • The Twisted Genius says:

        Depressing maybe, but I found it more exotic than depressing. With the right boat, I could happily spend the “Summer” there. With skis and the right gear, I could probably even enjoy a month of Winter.

  2. Pat Lang says:

    Interesting. There is also the “leave” part. Many parts of the rural US are much less populated than they were 150 years ago, but people just left

    • The Twisted Genius says:

      True. The kids just don’t stay. Maybe if the remote work thing continues or even expands, that might change in places.

  3. Deap says:

    Romania and Bulgaria have plenty of recently abandoned rural villages, housing and infrastructure, along with vast acres of fertile agricultural land linked to Danube River transportation routes.

    Always thought both countries should serve as “immigration” homelands. Come to Europe and this is your new homestead. No exceptions. Make it work. The world needs food.

  4. BillWade says:

    I remember back in the 60s or thereabouts the population of the USA being 180 million people and the recently produced birth control pill was touted as a means to control our growing population “problem”.

    • Deap says:

      Then in 1982, SCOTUS mandated free K-12 for all illegals. That is when we blinked. This subsequent population explosion did also come from legal resident internal birth rates. Baby-boomers having babies did create subsequent demographic bulges, Pill or no Pill. LBJ’s War on Poverty monetizing additional benefits for additional children was also a factor.

  5. gordon reed says:

    The decrease in population is beneficial, it is imperative to save the planet. It should not be bemoaned but celebrated.

    • The Twisted Genius says:

      Overpopulation is only a problem in localized areas, if that. If the changes in demographics were evenly distributed and slow enough, it probably would be beneficial. What will cause problems is the depopulation of Europe and the aging of the US, especially white US.

      • gordon reed says:

        It doesn’t matter what race people are, there are too many of us consuming too much. Water shortages, shrinking tropical forests and decimation of wildlife and fisheries.

        • Pat Lang says:

          gordon reed

          Tell me how you personally are cutting back on consumption.

          • gordon reed says:

            Good point, recycling not buy frivolous consumer goods,avoiding using plastic, not buying products that contain palm oil. Even small conservation efforts by individuals will only make a small difference. When the developing world starts consuming like we are the natural world will vanish, that is why reducing population is the best solution.

          • Pat Lang says:

            gordon reed

            What is the problem with palm oil?

          • LondonBob says:

            There is an argument the world has reached its carrying limits and humans are responding accordingly, attempts to boost the birth rate are rarely successful. Absent immigration the population of Britain would be gently declining, a population of forty to thirty million would be a much more pleasant environment.

        • Poul says:

          Yes, seen from the point of view of the species Homo Sapiens a reduction in our numbers is beneficial.

          But giving that we, humans, like to wage war to take other peoples land if they cannot defend themselves.
          It is a topic of concern for Europeans which are right next door to the last regions with growing populations of young people.

          Africa & Western Asia.

          Don’t expect that could not result in wars. And don’t expect something like the UN to matter in a century’s time.

  6. Fred says:

    “They need to bring back the industry.” At least she has a good idea. I look forward to seeing the author of that Telegraph piece do one on the population boom in Africa.

    • The Twisted Genius says:

      Plenty of authors have written about the African population “time bomb.” That growth will outstrip Asia and just serve to highlight the disappearing Europeans. Imagine if Musk and/or others spent their billions making Africa more habitable for the growing population rather than trying to make Mars habitable for a small population.

      • JerseyJeffersonian says:

        No, space colonization is the way forward. It’s expensive, but thank God someone is taking this on, so more power to Mr. Musk, and any others similarly inclined. Our own government, populated as it is with toxic, narcissistic sociopaths playing idiotic, intellectually-circumscribed power games no longer possess the required vision.

        There are resources out there, and probably yet undreamed of technologies waiting upon a base level of competence in space travel and colonization in order to be accessed, discovered, and perfected.

        Too many 80 IQ Africans who do not possess the intellectual capacity to understand that their failure to tie a knot in it only serves to postpone a day of reckoning.

        Now that modern medicine has decreased mortality, it is only a matter of time before population expansion leads to various pathways to massive dieoffs; war over resources, pandemics, gross misallocations of funds to support corruption and starve the populations (sometimes literally to starve them, i.e., famine). In the past, high mortality could justify huge families, but not now under changed conditions.

        The political leadership? Zimbabwe, formerly Rhodesia, which used to be a regional breadbasket, not only feeding their own population, but exporting to other African states, totally destroyed their agricultural sector through oppression and dispossession of the white farmers, instead electing to carve up formerly successful, modern farms into tiny – at best – subsistence level plots. The African “big man” culture was served, but not the prospects of the nation. And South Africa is on the same downward trajectory, as they oppress and disposess the progressive, modern farming by the Boers. Stupid is as stupid does.

        Unfortunately, modernity has also made these people aware that they can enact a modern version of the Bantu Explosion, only this time, first descending on Europe, original home of pathological altruism, and then onward to the US & Canada, secondary home of that same pathological altruism, what with Joe Baizuo, and Justin Trudeau crooking the finger at them.

        For what, so that the West, home of so much of human progress in science, technology, and agriculture for centuries can be overwhelmed by masses of culturally- incompatible hordes, hobbling ourselves from continuing with these endeavors? Better to stick to the plan, so the white-haters, and the Covidians can wrap us into their suicide pact? That doesn’t sound too good to me.

      • Fred says:

        How about any of the pro open borders billionaires who freely spend on Western elections yet don’t own so much as a mansion on that continent?

    • Jimmy_w says:

      The African population “time bomb” is 1 financial depression away from getting derailed. The global AIDS initiative is what’s keeping the “time bomb” going. 1 financial depression, money goes away, no AIDS antiviral cocktail. Millions die in 6 months.

  7. blue peacock says:


    Japan has seen declines in their population, not to mention the growing percentage of their population over 65. China is also crossing over with the metrics of decline in nominal numbers and aging.

    We need to rethink the consumption model of GDP growth which has been the cornerstone of our economic architecture for at least couple centuries.

    Changes in demographics are long arc issues. The counter-trend is technology. We’ll have more automation & robotics. Look at what AppHarvest is doing in ag and folks like Desktop Metal in manufacturing. This is just the beginning of how the basic economic structure could change, let alone the political & cultural.

  8. Tess says:

    The main factor behind low natality rates and growing suicides is the absolute lack of hope, made even more widely spread by this pandemic and the measures allegedly to contain it

    Hunger lines are currently a part of the landscape in most of the Western capitals.
    It is to be expected that people who previously had a more or less succesful life would not accept such prospect for a long time.
    In this scenario, not bringing children to the world is more an act of piety on the part of the people than, until now alleged, greed of the youngest generations.

    They, those organizing all this, just try ot make life as unlivable as possible, so that the people themselves give up on reproducing…This is a plan..

    Just read a headline on that the pandemic will never end, as we assist to the arrival of new strains resistant to the vaccinations….This, that the pandemic would be eternal was advanced by some analysts in the first moments of the declared pandemic


    If the people would be aware of the real state of the world, I mean, as we are in the forums commenting geopolitics, humanity would suicide in mass, making the delight of the usual eugenicists as this guy up here, “gordon reed” or Bill Gates…

    Have you heard about the current naval traffic jam at Suez Canal?
    It is a Taiwanese ship which got struck, they say, by a wind hit…Is this tru, or is this provoked also to rpejudice China?
    Or the container carrier is taken out, or we will be facing soon a real fall of supply lines, to add to the pandemic effects…


    Let´s remember, the 1926 sinking of a single ship, the Prinz Valdemar, blew up Florida’s housing bubble by blocking access to the Port of Miami…..

    Then, there are other factors worryingly influencing fertility…Like…


    Also read the other day that there have been found around dozens of unknown chemicals in pregnant women and newborns…


    • Pat Lang says:


      Maritime would be the word, not naval.

      • Tess says:

        Ok, thanks, sir.

      • Tess says:

        In case you did not roll down the thread on the Suez fiasco, there was a greek captain adding this in the comments…


        Also read over there Syrian government has just closed all its ports…due the current build up by NATO in the Mediterranean near its shores…

        What could go wrong?

        • Leith says:

          Tess –

          With all due respect to Captain Nikos, his Bank Effect explanation although true is just one part of the problem. Wind is an important factor for all of these new mega container ships (Ultra Large Container Vessels ULCV) like the one stuck in the Suez (Evergreen Marine’s Ever Given. The largest of the 19th Century Clipper ships had at most 5,000 square meters of sail. The UCLV plugging up the Suez with those containers stacked so high has a wind area of roughly 20,000 square meters. I recall years ago our entire peninsula was out on the beach picking up hundreds if not thousands of pairs of new sneakers that had been washed ashore from a container lost overbord during a storm.

          And the new container ships currently being designed are even bigger – Ultra Ultra Large they are called.

          IMHO the problem is globalization.

          • Fred says:

            The UN, amongst other unelected bodies, is quite happy to regulate the fuel used in ships. They could just as easily regulate the number of containers. It would help reduce the number blown overboard in bad weather, which is the excuse the canal operating company is now using for this ship running aground.

            Force majure sure negates a lot a insurance claims. I’m sure with a century of operating experience they’ll be happy to point to all the other historical examples of 40 mph winds forcing ships aground in the canal.

          • Leith says:

            Fred –

            Most ports and canals cannot handle these monster ships and they have to be upgraded at taxpayer expense. Port of Seattle just did an upgrade costing taxpayers half a billion $. And most of that money came from the feds, so you are helping to pay for it also, not just us up here in WA. Ditto for other West Coast ports and for several ports in Texas, Florida, and Georgia. And those upgrades were only for the 18,000-container-carrying ULCVs. It will not accommodate the newer UULCVs that are on the drawing boards.

            Maybe nobody elected the UN’s IMO. But then no American taxpayers elected the shipping tycoons that are milking your taxpayer dollars. Just so that Joe Sixpack can have more electronic toys and Mrs Sixpack have more designer fashion made by slave labor.

            At a wind load of 20,000 square meters, just a 30 knot crosswind would have placed a force of 270 tons on the EverGiven. A typical harbor tug at 70 tons force on full power can only produce about one fourth of that force.

            But no worry, the insurance gurus will blame the captain and crew. The IMO will bless that so as not to upset the ship owners and bankers.

          • Fred says:


            That ship isn’t aground sideways in Port Said. Thanks for the lefty talking points. Those ‘globalization ships’ have been transiting the Suez canal for years without doing what this one did. If only China handn’t industrialized, there would be no ships transiting from there to Europe, polluting the world, just like the Chinese coal plants powering those factories. I blame the communsists.

          • Leith says:

            Fred –

            I also blame the ChiComs.

            And the Suez Canal Authority for not requiring tugs to accompany these monsters thru the canal as they have to do in the Panama Canal. You can bet the farm that bribes were paid to some Egyptian bigshots so the shipowners would not have to pay for the expense of the tugs. So it is waterways as well as ports. The Bayonne Bridge over the Kill Van Kull Strait had to be raised to accommodate these Willy-the-Whale megaships.

            My (and your) tax $ paying for port & waterway upgrades for the benefit of shipowners and importers ain’t exactly a lefty talking point. And not a righty talking point either. It’s politically neutral common sense that we should NOT be doing it.

            Bigger is not always better. China is a case in point. As is the Titanic.

    • The Twisted Genius says:

      Tess, I certainly don’t see a lack of hope as the main factor behind low birth rates. If that was the case, Africa would not be witnessing skyrocketing birth rates. Western birthrates have been declining long before Covid-19 and the associated lockdowns. It’s more a matter of rising education levels, economic opportunities and expectations among women in the West. Couple that with hopelessness brought on by real and imagined troubles and we then have a real problem. It’s a function of societal and cultural trends, not a grand and nefarious plan orchestrated by an all powerful “they.”

      But you’re right about those chemicals in our bodies from modern industrial society. Those chemicals are lowering our sperm count, decreasing fertility, shrinking penises and killing us.

    • james says:

      tess – i share your overview and concerns here.. thanks..

      i thought there was indeed some metaphor going on with deep irony… a huge ship with the large logo ‘evergreen’ on the side of it, stuck in a narrow canal separating sand on both sides…. i wonder if it is an accurate metaphor for where the planet finds itself in 2021 with no real concern for climate change and the number of environmental issues that continue to be ignored by the political class? i think it might be..

      • Deap says:

        No james, the Evergreen stuck on a sandbar in this shallow man-made passage is not an “accurate metaphor” for your ephemeral world view. It might make a melodramatic metaphor in your mind set, but not an accurate one.

        I think you need to get out and travel more. See the world. Traverse the Suez. Sense the vastness of this planet and go far deeper in your understanding of its long history, complex systems and remarkable resiliency.

        • james says:

          thanks deap… i have traveled quite a bit in my life, but i see you make a lot of assumptions here and this tells me you are probably not interested in conversing, so much as telling me something about yourself in your response here.. thanks…

  9. optimax says:

    The good news is women’s breasts are getting bigger.
    I agree with Tess that the young profesionals have made decisions to not bring children into an ecological disaster, as they see the future they’ve taught and see happening. What I see is a virtual world bound by our carbon footprint.

    • Deap says:

      optimax, go plant a tree. Or plant a few dozen trees. Every year. You can make the difference you seek right now.

      • optimax says:

        I’m not young. I want to cut down the tree in my tree lawn but the city won’t let me. During the last ice storm a branch broke off and took down my electric line. Portland loves its trees more than people.
        I’m not “seeking” a difference. I’m comfortable with my carbon footprint and I don’t obsess about it.

      • optimax says:

        My original comment wasn’t even about myself. It’s from listening to younger people tell me why they will not have children.

  10. james says:

    thanks ttg.. i appreciate the links with a view into a different world and our possible collective future..

  11. Charles Michael says:

    Thanks TTG for the stats.
    and Tss for your remarks

    Demographic in search of equilibrium ?
    The ideal reproduction rate is around 2.5 children per women. So two or three children per women ?

    Developed countries are mechanized thanks to energy availability and urbanized thus leaving in smaller space but closer to higher education and the jobs market. Evolution from physical labor has thus enabled half the population (women) to work.
    This obviously limit the capacity or will to raise more than 2 children.
    Then you have birth control, basically for women having children if and when you wish so.

    Now projections at 2100, alarming as they are, must be taken with some precaution. Other projection about the availability of abundant and cheap energy provided by fossil fuels are rather even more pessimistic.
    Domestic US peak oil (conventional) was reached in 1971.
    Global conventional (easy to extract) was reached in 2008.
    Projections are, at the today rates, than in the three next decades fossils fuel will reach scarcity level and almost total disappearance by 2080.

    Back to the fields with animal or human energy ?
    slaves or more children.

    • Pat Lang says:

      charles michael

      “Projections are, at the today rates, than in the three next decades fossils fuel will reach scarcity level and almost total disappearance by 2080.” BS. More “peak fuel”nonsense. i thought you people had given up.

  12. Poul says:

    The Lancet has a study with predictions of the world’s future population. “Predictions” must be underlined as there is considerable uncertainty in the underlining assumptions about fertility and immigration etc.


    As always immigration is the big question mark as it’s based on volatile politics.

    Italy with little immigration could well hit 7-8 mio people in 2150 with some 60% of them being 60 years or older. That basically the end of Italy as a nation. Cities will fall apart with no money to maintain the historic centres.
    Already now immigration from Albania, Bulgaria etc is an important factor in keeping their numbers up but these countries are running low on young people wishing to leave.

    Africa and Western Asia is following the same path but they will vastly outnumber Europeans in the young age groups which is were the future is created.

  13. john kliss says:

    “Russia’s population fell by almost 600,000 over the last year to 146 million, according to official statistics, in its sharpest decline in the past 15 years. This month, Russia reported its first fall in life expectancy since 2003.” That’ .4 percent…STUNNING!

    The projections for 15 years amount to 7 percent over the 15 year span, or half a percent per year. Where is the panic? Much said about the last year rate and projections but “This month, Russia reported its first fall in life expectancy since 2003.” That is pretty impressive..hardly a scenario about the sky is falling!! Typical Guardian smear piece..surprised to see it here.

  14. gordon reed says:

    Col. Lang, tropical rainforests in Indonesia and Wesr Africa are being rapidly destroyed to plant palm oil plantations. Palm oil is in many of our products, baked goods and cosmetics, it is ubiquitous.

  15. mcohen says:

    Gordon.You are on the right track.Fact is humans are the most hated species on this planet and our fellow inhabitants do not wish us well.

    • Deap says:

      Just re-watched Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth – truth is few of his alarms came to pass, but most of his suggestions at the end of the film have been enacted. So did this work? If so, why the continual cries of eternal doom and gloom unless we “do something”.

  16. J says:

    Even though Xi is saying otherwise, China is facing a similar situation.

    Gordon Chang has a good read on this.

    The Coming Demographic Collapse of China

    “Today, the country has a population more than four times larger than America’s. By 2100, the U.S. will probably have more people than China.”

    • gordon reed says:

      If Chinas population halves during this time that will leave them with seven hundred million people, if we surpass them that would mean we would have seven hundred or eight hundred million people in the US. That would over double our population and that would be a disaster for all concerned.

  17. me in! says:

    On Goodreads yes. At home

Comments are closed.