The second stage of the 7th All-Russian Conference ‘Demographic Development of the Far East and the Arctic’ began in Vladivostok. The event opened with a plenary discussion entitled ‘Fertility Support: Priority and Effects’. Experts at the session analyzed existing measures of state support aimed at increasing the number of children in Far Eastern families, such as the Far Eastern Mortgage with the lowest interest rate in the country; the Reproductive Health pilot project, which was launched in Primorye Territory and Magadan Region; and plans to encourage the birth of a third child in a family. The participants also discussed implementation of the best Russian and foreign practices for sustainable growth of fertility and life expectancy in a macro-region. The organizers of Russia's largest conference on demography and migration are the Russian Ministry of Economic Development, the Far East and Arctic Development Corporation (FEDC), and the government of Primorye Territory.
Oleg Kozhemyako, Governor of Primorye Territory, opened the plenary session. He noted that Russian President Vladimir Putin has set the task of increasing the number of people in the country as a national priority. The head of the region spoke about the measures and results of birth-rate sustenance in the area: “Thanks to federal and local support measures, more families with many children are coming to the region. This year, for the first time in recent years, we are witnessing a number of first-borns in families: within half a year, over 3 thousand children were born, and all in all in 2022, over 8 thousand children were born, which is also an increase compared to previous years. To ensure a positive surge in the number of residents of the region, we have become one of the pilot areas of the Reproductive Health project, aimed at increasing the birth rate, preservation of health in families, and promotion of family values. According to the plans, the implementation of the project will upturn the birth rate in the territory of the region.”
The governor also noted the ongoing activities to support doctors and teachers, the development of physical education and sports, the creation of affordable housing and preferential programmes for its purchase. The measures of state support are provided in cooperation with the Ministry of the Development of the Russian Federation and the FEDC.
"The development of demography is a priority for the Far East. President Putin has set the goal of increasing the number of inhabitants in the macro-region. It can be achieved through systematic state policy: measures to support the birth rate, increase life expectancy, improve the quality of life, and develop culture, education, and sports. The demography of the Far East can only be developed in a comprehensive and systematic way. Many measures are already being implemented by the Ministry for the Development of the Russian Far East jointly with the Corporation. These include the recruitment and resettlement of medical workers, programmes to increase labour mobility, the admission of migrants from Ukraine, the LPR and DPR, the Far Eastern Mortgage, the Far Eastern Quarter, the Far Eastern Hectare, educational programmes, and other measures. This year, for the first time, we have recorded a migration inflow to the Far East, which confirms the effectiveness of both economic and social policies for the macro-region's development. The conference will help to develop new mechanisms and measures of state support for the birth rate and growth of the population of the Far East," emphasized Elvira Nurgalieva, First Deputy General Director for Social Development of the FEDC.
Mikhail Khasminsky, head of the Centre for Crisis Psychology and member of the Expert Council of the Education Committee of the State Duma, spoke about the prospects and practical aspects of the demographic policy in light of the Presidential Decree ‘On the National Security Strategy of the Russian Federation’.
“Taking into account long-term development trends in the Russian Federation and in the world, its national interests at the present stage are the preservation of the Russian people, development of human potential, improvement of the quality of life and well-being of its citizens. It is also important to strengthen traditional Russian spiritual and moral values, to preserve the cultural and historical heritage of the Russian people,” said Mikhail Khasminsky.
The moderator and expert of the plenary session, Mikhail Denisenko, director of the Institute of Demography at the Higher School of Economics, revealed to the audience the results of the forecasts and summarized the session.
“In the APR countries neighbouring the Far East, the trend of an aging population and declining birth rate will continue for several decades to come. In this perspective, it is extremely important for Russia to continue the policy of stimulating the birth rate and supporting families with children. This is an investment in our future. At the same time, financial support measures, as practice shows, have a limited effect on the birth rate, if the policy measures do not affect the values and do not change the reproductive attitudes of the population. For this reason, it is necessary to develop other, non-monetary measures to support Russian families,” said Mikhail Denisenko.
The annual All-Russian Conference ‘Demographic Development of the Far East and the Arctic’ is being held this year in two regions at once: in the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) and in Primorye Territory. On 23–24 June 2022 Yakutsk brought together over 700 participants, experts and residents of Yakutia. Earlier demographic conferences were hosted by the cities of Khabarovsk, Blagoveshchensk, Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, Magadan, and Chita.
Proposals developed as a result of the conference will be presented as part of the dedicated session at the Eastern Economic Forum, which this year will be held in Vladivostok from 5 to 8 September. The operator of the Forum is the Roscongress Foundation.