Many important demographic indices have changed dramatically in Russia during the last 10 years. The total fertility rate decreased from 2.20 to 1.28 between 1987 and 1996. The life expec-tancy for males fell by more than 7 years between 1987 and 1994, and for females by more than 3 years; after this, life expectancy began to rise again, but by 1997 the loss for males was re-stored by only 45% and for females by 60%. The natural increase of population became negative in 1992 and despite positive net migration the population of Russia began to decline. During 1992-1997 it decreased by 1.6 million persons. The population decline will continue and, accord-ing to varying forecasts, the total losses can reach from 2.4 to 12.8 million persons by 2010.
What all this means is that Russia is experiencing a serious demographic crisis. With respect to the level of mortality and its trends, Russia is in a very poor position compared to all the Western industrial countries.
The growth, or at least the stabilization, of the size of the Russian population during the first dec-ades of the 21st century will be possible only on the condition that net migration be positive for Russia and of significant proportion. But taking into consideration economic and political reali-ties, it is unlikely that this condition will be realized. It is more probable that the size of the Rus-sian population will decline.