Russia's demographic trends have unambiguously negative implications for Russian development and security. The ramifications are manifold and far-reaching, some of them complex—but the basic outlines of the more important considerations can be briefly and simply adduced.
Russia's lingering health and mortality crisis promises to be a brake on rapid economic development. In the modern era, the wealth of nations is represented, increasingly, in human rather than natural resources—and the richer the country, the more pronounced the tendency for "human capital" to overshadow or replace physical capital in the production process. Human health figures importantly in the overall composition of human capital, and thus the correspondence between human health and economic productivity has been fairly robust. In recent years, to judge by U.N. and World Bank data, an additional year of male life expectancy at birth has been associated with an increment of GNP per capita of about 8 percent.
These same trends hold somewhat for the Ukraine although there seems to have been a mini-baby boom recently. We'll see if they hold.
(Via the Corner at NROnline)