The headline of the NYT article says it all: Its Population Falling, Russia Beckons Its Children Home.

The United Nations predicts that the country will fall to 116 million people by 2050, from 141 million now, an 18 percent decline, largely because of a low birthrate and poor health habits.

Abortion and contraception are entrenched in Russia, and even baby bonuses haven’t slowed the population decline.

The Russian government is therefore looking to Russians beyond its borders.

Moscow has spent $300 million in the past two years to get the repatriation program started, and officials estimated that more than 25 million people were eligible, many of them ethnic Russians who found themselves living in former Soviet republics after the Soviet collapse in 1991.

Even Old Believers who fled to Brazil are being contacted.

But not much success so far:

So far, only 10,300 people have moved back under the government repatriation program, which has faced criticism that it is overly bureaucratic and unpersuasive.

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