Russia's Migrant Shortage Is Bigger Than Anyone Could Have Imagined

MIN READMay 27, 2019 | 09:00 GMT

A guard stops a vehicle at Russia's Troyebortnoye border checkpoint on the Russian-Ukrainian border.

A crossing point on the Russian-Ukrainian border. A drop in Russia's net migration is compounding the country's poor demographic trends and could seriously threaten its economic viability.

(VIKTOR DRACHEV\TASS via Getty Images)

That Russia is facing a significant demographic challenge is a surprise to no one -- but the extent of the problem might be. According to Russia's state statistical service, Rosstat, migration in and out of Russia added only 124,900 people to the country's population last year. The figure is the smallest rise in net migration since 2005 -- and because of recent changes in reporting methodology that occurred in 2011, the population numbers may be even more dire now than they were 14 years ago. Whatever the case, the figures are disconcerting for Russia, whose demographic downturn is just one factor clouding the country's economic future. Citizens might already be leaving the country in greater numbers than reported, but Rosstat's latest numbers suggest the country faces an even starker challenge in its effort to hit a net migration target of 300,000 a year -- the figure that is necessary to...

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