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Russia’s Population Is Shrinking Even as Putin Seeks Expansion

  • Data show population fell 311,000 in first four months of 2022
  • Putin has warned of dangers from demographic decline for years
Vladimir Putin
Vladimir PutinPhotographer: Alexey Nikolsky/AFP/Getty Images

Russia’s population is declining even as it emerges from the worst of the Covid-19 epidemic, underlining the government’s difficulties in reversing the slump as President Vladimir Putin wages war in Ukraine.

Deaths exceeded births by 311,200 people in the first four months of this year, compared with 304,500 a year earlier, data published Friday by the Federal Statistics Service show, adding to a decline in migration to Russia.