Russian Spring in Crimea — at the Registry Office!

Wedding at Kichkine Palace, Yalta (from a catering company ad)

Vladimir TIMAKOV
in Russian Spring, March 3, 2016

Translated from Russian by Tom Winter

The revolutionary political changes that took place in the life of the Crimea in 2014, have had a demographic effect that wasn’t in anyone’s projections:

Beginning in March, when the referendum was held, the number of weddings on the peninsula sharply increased.

The “wedding boom” lasted throughout 2014. During this time, there have been almost four thousand more marriages than in the comparable prior period of Ukrainian citizenship.

This “Registry Office Russian Spring” is not over, and, as expected, with nine-month intervals, is beginning to bear fruit. At the end of 2015 Sevastopol topped the ratings of the Russian regions in terms of growth of the birth rate.

The positive trend continues to this day. The January 2016 statistics show a 5.4 percent uptick in the Republic of Crimea birth rate. And in the hero-city of Sevastopol, 22.8 per cent! 

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Why the dramatic changes? There are elusive factors such as the feeling of national well-being. Demographic history shows that a low birth rate is often a companion of a people experiencing moral and psychological depression after some historic defeat. On the other hand, victory inspires people not only in combat or labor, but also on the family front.

So, after the Napoleonic wars France for almost a century was the European population outsider, and after 1945 had a similar protracted demographic depression, as did Germany and Japan. But in the Western world the leaders in fertility were the most successful, the dominant nations of the West, i.e. Anglo-Saxons (both the UK and the US).

Similar correlations are observed in the space of our civilization. If the pre-1991 Russians in Estonia had more births than the Estonians, after independence that all changed. The demographic disparity arose also in Ukraine: the worst index of birth rate since the declaration of independence is in the eastern Russian regions (Donetsk, Lugansk), and the highest, in the Western (Rivne, Chernivtsi).

Apparently, the Russians of the newly pro-Western former Soviet states were psychologically oppressed not only by a historical defeat in the Cold War (which was also characteristic for Russians in the Russian Federation), but also by their new position in the foreign cultural milieu.

It seems that the return of the Crimea to the Russian cultural space, together with the effect of national historic revenge, had a positive impact on the national well-being, and it, in turn, on the demographic indicators.

In any case, hundreds of new lives can be considered the result of unexpected Russian spring in the Crimea.

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