Matt Yglesias might want a billion Americans. But there would have been 500 million Russians in the absence of the Bolshevik Revolution, as was predicted by Dmitry Mendeleev in a 1907 book.
In our country, the Russian statehood disintegrated twice during the 20th century. The Russian Empire ceased to exist after the 1917 revolution. Russia lost huge territories in the west and north but gradually recuperated. But later, there followed the collapse of the Soviet Union. Why? We should closely analyse all this and find what triggered those dramatic events. Had they failed to happen, we should have had a different country now. Some specialists believe that we should have had a population nearing 500 million people. Just think about it. Today, we have 146 million. If these tragedies had not occurred, there would have been 500 million people.
This isn’t a neo-Tsarist “what if” fantasy.
It is a direct computation of what population trends would have been like in the absence of the multiple catastrophes that Russia experienced during the thirty years from 1917-1947*.
- Civil War, famines, emigration: 10M+
- Collectivization famines: 5-7M
- Political repressions: 1M+
- World War II and Nazi occupation: 27M
- 1947 famine: 1.5M
The result is that the combined population of Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus was hardly any higher in 1946 (97M+33.5M+7.5M=138M) than it had been in 1916 (92M+35M+7M=134M). This was in a region which had a TFR of 6 children per woman in 1913.
Of course to this figure of ~280M+ Russians within the borders of the modern RF should be added 100M (much more Russified) Ukrainians and 20M Belorussians for a total population of 400M.
This is if anything a lower bound because it assumes that fertility patterns would have otherwise remained unchanged. Possibly a surviving Russian Empire/Republic would have had an earlier demographic transition to sub replacement fertility, as happened in Germany from the 1970s and Italy from the 1980s, due to faster economic development. On the other hand, it could be expected to have had a slower demographic transition earlier on, due to the absence of collectivization and no male/female post-WW2 disparity, and it would not have experienced the fertility-shredding social cataclysm that accompanied the Soviet collapse in the 1990s-2000s.
It is understandable why most Russians are not pining for a third revolution.
Historically, every Russian revolution led to a halving of its population. Bolshevik Revolution ensured North Eurasia's population would be 300M instead of 600M by end of century. Soviet disintegration reduced it to 150M. So I can see why some Westerners would want a third. https://t.co/6PQ6WfrSfD
— Anatoly Karlin 🦇🔊 (@akarlin_) August 20, 2021