Prospects for Overcoming the Socio-Demographic Crisis Based on the Social Doctrine of Russia. Bronze medal

Prospects for Overcoming the Socio-Demographic Crisis Based on the Social Doctrine of Russia. Bronze medal
Author: Yakovets, Tatyana Yu.
Almanac: Kondratieff waves:Processes, Cycles, Triggers, and Technological Paradigms


COVID-19 situation has exacerbated the already acute demographic threats in Russia. It is necessary to strengthen state regulation of the processes to overcome the socio-demographic crisis in the Russian Federation. At the end of the National Projects 2018–2024, we propose to develop and adopt the Social Doctrine of the Russian Federation 2025–2030. For this purpose, one should build a modeling system for a multi-regional model bundle, the core of which will be a system of demographic models. Forecast calculations for the Social Doctrine of the Russian Federation should be carried out on the Lomonosov-2, supercomputer of the Moscow State University.

Keywords: socio-demographic crisis, social doctrine, coronavirus, demographic transition, social catastrophe, demographic policy.

As of October 6, 2020, there were 1,237,504 people infected with coronavirus in Russia, and 21,663 people died from this disease. On October 7, 11,115 people were infected and 202 people died[1], i.e., the number of cases was higher than the maximum in May 2020. For a century since the Spanish flu epidemic (1918–1920), when 30 % of the world's population was infected, the country and the world at large have not experienced such mass diseases. Previously outlined National Projects for 2018–2024 should be adjusted, taking also into account Presidential Decree No. 474 of July 21, 2020 ‘On the National Development Goals of the Russian Federation for the period up to 2030’. In this Decree, the first national development goal of the Russian Federation for the period up to 2030 is the preservation of the population, health and well-being of people.

We have analyzed the 500-year period of Russia's demographic history (Dobrokhleb and Yakovets 2020) and came to the conclusion that our country was periodically in a demographic hole, for example in Time of Troubles of the early 17th century, in the period before the reform of 1861, revolutions of the early 20th century and ‘shock therapy’ of the late 20th century. In the study led by academician D. S. Lvov, these periods were called ‘crisis intervals’ in the development of Russia. Later, after reviewing the works of Belarusian sociologist E. M. Babosov (1995), we concluded that three of these ‘crisis intervals’ were social catastrophes, and only thanks to the reforms of 1861, carried out primarily by the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Empire, a catastrophic scenario was avoided. In addition, the wars of Peter the Great, the Patriotic war of 1812, and the Great Patriotic War had a negative impact on the country's population. There were also epidemics. However, each time the country's population revived. But all this was before the ‘demographic transition’ of Russian population described by S. P. Kapitsa.

The modern social catastrophe in Russia at the end of the 20th century proceeded according to the sociodemographic pattern. That is, there were no major wars, enslavement of the population but the population was dying out at an accelerated rate. Professor of Lomonosov Moscow State University Yu. M. Osipov believes that the reason for this is ‘anti-reform’ and to overcome these negative trends, new reforms are necessary (like reforms of 1861) (Osipov 2005). In the brilliant monograph by N. M. Rimashevskaya,  the head of the Russian socio-demographic school People and Reforms: Secrets of Survival (2003), the reason for the accelerated depopulation of the Russian population is also called ill-conceived reforms of liberal economists who do not take into account the social consequences of such accelerated transformations. But that is already in the past. What demographic threats do we have currently?

1) In general, the ‘demographic transition’ has passed, i.e. the rate of natural reproduction of the population has sharply decreased, up to depopulation, which is observed in all developed countries of the world. There are still ‘pre-transition’ enclaves in Russia, where there is an accelerated population growth, but they will also undergo a ‘demographic transition’ and the growth rate of their population will decrease. Therefore, one cannot say that without centralized state efforts, the country's population itself will quickly get out of the depopulation regime. The organization of population reproduction is required. Therefore, we began to develop the ‘theory of population economy’ based on the ‘philosophy of economy’ of S. N. Bulgakov (1990) and Yu. M. Osipov (since 1995) (Osipov 2005). (In 1997, Academician D. S. Lvov recommended to study seriously the ‘philosophy of economy’.) This ‘theory of population economy’ deals with the organization of reproduction of the country's population, which is now particularly relevant for Russia.

2) L. N. Gumilev introduced the concept of ‘ethnic field’, which has the tension. This is the level of passionarity of the population on a certain territory (Gumilev 2010). The territory occupied by an ethnic group depends on the size of the tension of the ethnic field, and when it decreases, the size of this territory also decreases. We observed this in 1991, when the system-forming Russian ethnic group was no longer able to consolidate the USSR as a single state and there was a disintegration of the country into the territories of separate ethnic groups. But the collapse of the Russian Federation was prevented. Although the Constitution of the Russian Federation now enshrines the impossibility of reducing the country's territory, with neighboring passionate China, the extinction of the Far East and Siberia is fraught with many threats.

3) Population decline in Russia is currently threatening – the second stage of depopulation, beginning in 2016, will largely depend on the ‘demographic wave’ created in previous decades. Thus, 11,8 million people were born in 1981–1985, 11,5 million in 1986–1990, 7,5 million in 1991–1995, and 6,3 million in 1996–2000 (Lokosov and Rybakovsky 2017: 19). Currently, ‘children of reforms’ are entering the reproductive age. In 2012 the research team led by N. M. Rimashevskaya conducted a survey of this demographic contingent and wrote about their problems – small number, poor physical and mental health – in a monograph published to the 80th anniversary of N. M. Rimashevskaya (2011). Therefore, this generation will need help from the state in implementing their reproductive behavior.

4) The country's population is aging and the ‘demographic burden’ on the working-age population is increasing, while working-age population is also decreasing (see Table). This demographic situation implies an increase in the financing of health care and pensions, which is possible only in case of an increase in the efficiency of economic activity. The current financial and economic crisis in the world and in Russia, increasing rates of unemployment makes this effect impossible and requires the search for new solutions. Therefore, demographic problems should be considered in conjunction with the problems of innovative and technological renewal of the economy.

Table. Working-age population in Russia


Under working age population (0-15 years old), mln

(male – 16–59 years old,
female – 16–54 years
old), mln

Over working age
(male – over 60 years old, female – over
55 years old), mln





































Source: Rosstat[2].

On the whole, the current demographic situation in Russia can be characterized as a socio-demographic crisis. It is necessary to develop a long-term social strategy to overcome these negative trends.

Similar to preservation of military security in Russia based on developing Military Doctrine of the Russian Federation, as enshrined in the Constitution, for the maintenance of social security (Yakovets 2019), there is a need to develop and adopt the Federal law of the Social Doctrine of the Russian Federation. This proposal was made by N. M. Rimashevskaya (2003) and S. S. Sulakshin (2010) but their initiatives were not supported. In the current critical demographic situation in the country, the relevance of the social doctrine of the Russian Federation is only increasing.

The social doctrine of the country should be a strategic document and according to academician V. L. Kvint to define strategy as ‘the result of a system analysis of the environment, existing forecasts of future conditions based on strategic thinking, deep knowledge and intuition’ (Kvint 2009: 626). N. M. Rimashevskaya identified the following four segments of the Social Doctrine. ‘The first segment covers the object of social policy, i.e. the population represented in all its diversity; the second segment considers the population as a subject of social activity in the main spheres of society; the third segment is social infrastructure, i.e. industries that produce social services and form social ecology; the fourth segment is largely integrative, representing the quality of social life itself, or the quality of population reproduction’ (Rimashevskaya 2003: 197). This structure of Social Doctrine proposed by the founder of the Russian sociodemographic school is still relevant today.

The development of the Social Doctrine of the Russian Federation 2025–2030 involves the use of modern digital technologies. The prediction should be made not at the level of the entire country, but with the allocation of macro-regions, i.e. when forecasting the main indicators of the Social Doctrine, it is necessary to make calculations on a model, in which we propose to allocate eight macro-regions with sub-regions on a territorial-ethnic basis. Therefore, to predict future conditions, as V. L. Kvint writes, it is necessary to build a modeling system consisting of a multi-regional bundle of interactive models. Demographic models should become the core of this system of models (Golubkov and Yakovets 2018). The Russian Federation has experience in building such a multi-model multi-regional bundle. In 1977–1988, I took an active part in the implementation of the Soviet model of The Club of Rome at the VNIISI of the USSR Academy of Sciences under the guidance of Academician V. A. Ge-lovani (Gelovani et al. 2009). At that time, it was very difficult to collect and process information for 150 countries around the world, but in modern computing conditions this problem can be solved more easily. Building of modeling system for forecasting the key indicators involves an interdisciplinary research with the participation of the scientists from different scientific divisions of the Russian Academy of Sciences, St. Petersburg State University, and Lomonosov Moscow State University. The Rosstat information system should become the statistical data base for calculations, and the computing environment should be the capacity of the supercomputer of Lomonosov Moscow State University 'Lomonosov-2'. The use of parallel computing will allow processing a large array of information for forecasts that fills a multi-model bundle including game models. If earlier such calculations were used in civil industries for climate models, in the development of car systems, now there is a need to use parallel computing for socio-demographic forecasts.

The Social Doctrine of the Russian Federation 2025–2030, as a social institution, will allow concentrating efforts to get out of the socio-demographic crisis in the shortest possible time with minimal economic losses. Moreover, such strategic goal-setting based on modern digital technologies is a High-Hume technology (Yudina and Geliskhanov 2020), which is the future.


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* This research has been supported by the Russian Foundation for Basic Research (Project No. 19-010-00136).

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