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REAL CLEAR RELIGION

Culture, Christianity, Catholic Dogma & The Death Of The West

Culture, Christianity, Catholic Dogma & The Death Of The West

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RUSSIA'S AGGRESSIVE EXPANSION DUE TO INSURMOUNTABLE POPULATION DECLINE

I have read a great deal on the recent Georgia crisis--but the obvious reason for Russia's expansionist aggression seems to be overlooked by the West. Russia is in the midst of an insurmountable population death spiral and nothing the Russian leaders have done internally is working. Taking back its former territories will, however, change the dynamics of its population crisis.

Consider this typical scene in modern day Russia: "A group of young professionals sitting around a dinner table in the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk. The hosts for the evening were Roman Zhabko, 34, a computer network administrator, and his wife, Olga Zhabko, 28, who manages a small business. Like the majority of Russians, they're loyal to President Vladimir Putin; a poster of Mr. Putin is the only decoration on their living room walls..."

"Demographics is an acute problem in Russia, and it's discussed by everybody," Ms. Zhabko said as she put another dish of meats and cheeses on the table.

"More and more immigrants will come to Russia and they will bring their own culture," Ms. Zhabko continued. "Russian culture will disappear. This is the most horrible vision I can imagine. We are one of the ancient, rich cultures of the world, and we could just disappear."

Then I stumbled upon a Christian Newswire press release from Barry McLerran, producer of "Demographic Winter", who also stated that Russia's population decline was an overlooked factor in the recent Georgia invasion.

"Russia has one of the lowest birth rates in the world, 1.17 children per woman. A nation needs a birth rate of 2.1 just to replace current population. Because of its low birth rate and early deaths -- due to disease and other factors -- Russia is losing approximately 750,000 people a year." said McLerran.

It's generally believed that Russia's current population of 144 million will fall to 115 million by 2050. But Murray Feshbach, with the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, thinks Russia's population will drop to 101 million and could go as low as 77 million by mid-point in this century.

Russia is trying desperately to bolster its sagging birth rate. For every child that a family has after the first, the Russian government pays parents the equivalent of $9,200. There's even a "National Day of Conception."
None of it seems to be working.

"So, where does a nation with a plummeting birthrate find people? How will Russia hold the largest land mass of any country in the world with a population of 115 million – or 77 million? Where will it get the labor to fuel its economy and man its defenses?" asked McLerran.

One answer is territorial expansion that will incorporate other populations into the nation.

Putin has made it clear that he considers the breakup of the Soviet Union a tragedy. Prior to 1991, the Ukraine and Georgia were part of Russia.

Many observers believe Putin's endgame is not just to seize Georgia (with a population of 4.6 million), but, more importantly, the Ukraine, with 46 million people -- thus increasing Russia's current population by 40% in one fell swoop.

"Doubtless, Moscow would also benefit from the thriving economies of Georgia and the Ukraine as well. Georgia's economy increased by 12% in 2007, while the Ukraine's grew by 7%...But what oil-rich Russia needs now, more than anything else, is more people. This may be a significant factor driving its adventurism in the Caucuses."

And still more from the Washington Times: "Neo-Malthuseans of the 1970s and 1980s used to persuade politicians and scholars in the West that human beings themselves were the problem. Adding more therefore was far from desirable.

But this deeply destructive trend in thinking has now been reversed as populations in the West, particularly Russia, are very likely to plummet irreversibly in the coming decades. "Russia must cope with a rate of population decline that has no historical precedent in the absence of pandemic..."

Oil wealth might make Russia look strong today, but its human capital is being inexorably eroded with consequences for economic growth as well as social and family cohesion.
Mr. Putin has called population decline "the most acute problem facing our country today." Attending population decline...are political trends that we already see playing themselves out. Ethnic composition will change, for instance, as Russia's Muslim population will grow proportionately to its Slav population. Muslims may be in the majority by 2050. Tendencies towards illiberal political solutions may well be the choice of the threatened ethnic group, as we are indeed seeing in Russia today with Mr. Putin's authoritarian grab for perpetual power. And it may lash out against other nations in a diversion from internal problems - just ask the Georgians.

As the Russian beast rears its expansionist head, I cannot help but wonder about Fatima and whether or not the consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary ever validly took place and/or whether Catholics are failing to heed Mary's request for first Saturday Communions of Reparation.

"I shall come to the world to ask that Russia be consecrated to my Immaculate Heart, and I shall ask that on the First Saturday of every month Communions of reparation be made in atonement for the sins of the world. If my wishes are fulfilled, Russia will be converted and there will be peace; if not, then Russia will spread her errors throughout the world, bringing new wars and persecution of the Church; the good will be martyred and the Holy Father will have much to suffer; certain nations will be annihilated." The Blessed Virgin Mary to the children at Fatima