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18.05.2017

Baltic dissolves in the European Union

The fact that the Baltic countries are affected by the outflow of population, has long been known. But now the question is an edge - unless a miracle happens, Latvia will disappear within a century. A similar situation exists in Lithuania, but not in Estonia. What caused such a drastic depopulation? And truthfully whether the assertion that, by joining the EU, the Baltic countries have embarked on a path leading to the grave?

In the past year, died seven thousand more people in Latvia, what came to light. Tens of thousands have emigrated. The head of the Riga office of the International Organization for Migration Ilmars Mezs stresses that if current trends continue for a hundred years in Latvia in general there will be no Latvians. This announcement came as a bombshell, but then surprised by and large nothing.

No exit

The same Ilmar Mezs beats the alarm for a long time. For example, in June last year, he told the Riga mass media that the "rapid economic growth" declared by the Latvian government does not prevent an equally rapid outflow of the population. According to him, about six or seven years ago, at the peak of the emigration of Latvians, the country "was shell-shocked by a depressingly heavy economic crisis" - and the flight from it seemed quite understandable. Now, Latvia is nominally a member of the EU leaders in terms of economic growth, but the rate of emigration continues to grow. "In 2010-2011 years. annually left for 30-40 thousand of the population. We hoped that last year the outflow would decrease. But, unfortunately, the number of emigrants did not decrease, but increased, "- complains Mezhs.

In this case, a demographer recognizes that the birth rate in the country increased slightly, but this weak positive trend negates the statistics on who left. And the main problem - in the ratio of retirees to working-age population. "This imbalance will increase by several times. Or pension will be several times lower, or to us gush migrants. Where did they come - the future will tell, "- concluded the expert.

According to official figures the number of population in Latvia in recent years has decreased from 25 2,7 million to less than 2 million people, or one-third. Unofficially, the opinion is expressed that the State has no more than 1,7 million. Earlier, former President Valdis Zatlers has proposed an ambitious goal - three million Latvians to 2050 year. However, almost none of the specialized professionals do not believe that this can be achieved "natural methods" - due to the improvement of social conditions and increasing the birth rate.

"During the period of independence, we lost about 700 thousand people," confirms another Latvian demographer Peteris Zvidriņš, emphasizing that Latvia has fallen into the top ten countries of the world in terms of population decline. - This includes international migration - 450 thousand, including former soldiers of the Soviet army and members of their families who left Latvia at the beginning of the 90. Then many inhabitants of Latvia have gone to their ethnic homelands - to Russia, Belarus, to Ukraine, etc. The peak of this first wave fell on 1992 year, when the territory of the country left immediately 100 thousand people. After accession to the EU, when citizens of Latvia were given the opportunity to go to old Europe without visas, the flow of descending ones resumed. In addition, the natural decline in the population continued to remain above the birth rate. "

According Zvidrinsh, if you look at how many people live in some districts of Latvia, it appears that every year the country loses a full-fledged town or a small city like Cesis. At the same time, based on the survey results, we can say that only a small proportion of Latvians who have left to work, busy packing suitcases for the journey home.

"Today we came to the fact that the difference between the births and deaths accumulated over 25 years reached 250 thousand people. All these years demographers talk about depopulation in Latvia, but no one listened to us. Remember the census in 2011. Politicians were already interested in pointing out a larger population than Latvia actually had, since the distribution of the euro funds depends on this. And we even warned before the census that there are already about two million Latvians. Now in Latvia lives 1,96 million people, and annual losses are approaching 1% of the population. We demographers consider the situation unfavorable and we do not see any way out in the coming years, "says Zvidrinsh.

The kingdom of desolation

Already 3 June in Latvia will go municipal elections. And it is already known that in some regions the number of voters will be significantly lower than four or eight years ago. As the historian Denis Khanov points out, many self-governments fell into a vicious circle. People do not give birth and flee from where they do not see their future, where they do not have jobs and prospects. As a result of low activity of business taxes in such places is going to be small, it means that there is simply no opportunity to improve people's lives and spend money on social needs for local governments. The remaining population is aging, there is less and less skilled labor, new business does not appear, investments do not come, there are no taxes, life is more hopeless ...

The leader of the inhabitants of the rate of loss is Strenči Municipality in northern Latvia. By the year there 2015 15% missed by all who resided in the province in the year 2010. No wonder - there are also social burden highest: 759 from 1000 inhabitants are disabled.

A couple of years ago, Riga's television crews tickled the nerves of the Latvian viewer, presenting a report from the volost, which could be considered the poorest in the state. In the south-east of Latvia lies Varkava region, in which the official work is only for 103 able-bodied residents from 1791. And most of these "lucky" work in the administration of self-government. Another 743 barkavtsev somewhere moonlight, receive benefits, but do not have income exceeding the size of the "minimum". Yes, 314 people have a permanent income, but 211 of them work outside the province. Still 670 does not have any earnings, that is, they either do not do anything at all, or they go abroad.

The head of the local municipality Anita Brakovska not hide the fact that more than half of their income (650 000 euros per year) Vārkava Municipality receives from the State Fund of financial equalization municipalities. Yet something in the form of grants podkidyvayut Ministry of Education (on teachers salaries) and Minsoobshchenija (road maintenance). Hung over the edge of a spirit of hopelessness, people simply run - with 2000 2014 year on the number of residents decreased by 25,7%.

"I believe that we all need. We're citizens, we are also part of Latvia. Therefore, it is necessary to take care of us as equals. Let us at least a little longer to reach the countryside ... "- says Brakovska.

"God withdrew from Latvia"

"The village is dying out, and everything is concentrated in the cities. But noticeable new trend - these people came to the city, discovering that there can not earn good money solely because of the infrastructure, "- complains counselor on affairs of business of the Latvian association of local governments of Andhra Feldmane.

Indeed, in large cities the situation is little better than in the countryside. As an example, you can cite Daugavpils, the beginning of 90-x met a densely populated (by Latvian standards, of course) a city with 130 thousand of population. The feeling of relative multitude was preserved there throughout all 90-x and the beginning of 2000-ies. Of course, once the powerful urban industry was gradually decaying, the townspeople lost their jobs, someone left somewhere, but the impoverishment of the human resource was not felt, since at that time the borders with the EU still existed, and relatively few managed to overcome them. When Latvia joined the European Union, the townspeople literally rushed abroad.

In the 2011 was home already 93 018 people in Daugavpils. Now, six years later, the city officially listed just over 89 000 inhabitants. Many of Daugavpils' mistrust even such figures and believe that everything is worse - many Latvians, leaving freely in other EU countries do not consider it necessary to put the authorities notified.

Move people not only in the western direction. Businesswoman Elena Kuranova, moved from Daugavpils in Voronezh, told the newspaper VIEW, which initially did not even think about leaving, moreover, discouraged friends contemplating such options.

"Then there was a hope, that it is possible to change a situation to the best, to direct Daugavpils on a development way. Now these hopes have completely disappeared, and yet my husband and I, while the age permits, wanted to do something else in life. Do not want to vegetate in vain, besides, there is a goal to provide the child with a decent education. And we are not alone ... For people, Daugavpils has turned into a total "hopeless zone", a complete lack of optimism about the prospects of the region makes them "vote with their feet." Now, according to my feelings, there are hardly more than 65 thousand left in the city. The rest at the best are in Daugavpils only arrivals. They will visit the friends and relatives who have stayed here, their own graves, will walk nostalgically through the streets and leave again ... "- she says.

By the way, one of these days the first Minister of Foreign Affairs of post-Soviet Latvia, the deputy of several convocations of the parliament Янис Юрканс has declared, that from Latvia leave not only people - from Latvia the God left. "I believe that for twenty-seven years we squandered our state. We may be rude, but in principle the state is no more. There is a territory. Do we have a budget for our hosts? No, it must be agreed with the creditors. Can we protect the border? And again, no. Have we created a nation over the years? We do not have a nation, there is a society split into two camps, "Yurkans said. In his opinion, there are no new horizons before Latvia - while the ruling circles, in order to "translate the arrows", intimidate people with the upcoming attack of Russia.

Other Estonia

In neighboring Lithuania, the outflow of the population is not better, but worse. For 15 years the republic was leading in the European Union in terms of emigration. According to the data presented in the April report of Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis, last year, 50 333 residents emigrated from Lithuania, which is 5800 more than in 2015, and 13 712 more than in 2014. The scale of migration creates serious risks for the economy: in the last two years, every third emigrant was aged 20-29 years, and every fourth - at the age of 30-39 years. "In connection with the reduction in the number of able-bodied residents and the aging of the population in the future, Lithuania may face difficulties in financing the pension system, health care and education," the head of government said.

Earlier, a senior researcher at the Lithuanian Center for Social Research, Vidmantas Daugirdas, admitted that sparsely populated areas (less than 12,5 per square kilometer) "will very soon become a challenge to the state". "Sometimes it is called demographic depression, hoping that this is a temporary phenomenon. But this process in sparsely populated areas is irreversible, "the scientist explains. Currently, the average population density in Lithuania is 43,6 person per square kilometer, while 22 district of 57 can be called sparsely populated. In 2001, there were only seven of them.

As for Estonia, there is a natural decline in population to a large extent offset by positive net migration. However, according to the Department of Statistics, on January 1 2017-1 315 first resided in the republic 635, 309 that less than a year ago.

It should be added that in April, the Russian Association of Baltic Studies (Rapi) held a debate on the socio-economic and political development of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. The central subject for discussion was just demographic projections in the development of the Baltic States in the period up to 2030 and 2050 years. And it emphasized that economic factors have resulted in the expulsion of these countries not only to ethnic Russian, but also representatives of the titular nation.

"The main problem is that young people aged from 20 to 40 years emigrate from these states .... According to forecasts, the population in all three states is expected to decrease by 30 and more percent to 2035 year ... At the same time, state data firmly stand on the idea of ​​confronting Russia, are ready to remain a buffer zone, and therefore depend heavily on US financial support, which is obtained through the NATO bases organized on their territories - Lithuania and Latvia are European leaders in military spending. Finally, in these states, there is a reduction and weakening of social ties, which always programs the degradation of society, "the Associate Professor of the Faculty of International Relations of the St. Petersburg State University Natalia Eremin told the newspaper VIEW.

All of these trends, in her opinion, is too difficult to reverse.

A source: LOOK

Author: Ilya Belkin

Tags: Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Baltic States, Demography, Research, Society, Statistics, EU, Europe, Migration, Economics

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