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SOCHI, July 21. /TASS/. Russia has been seeing natural population growth for the second year in a row, to a larger extent thanks to changes in the healthcare system, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Friday when he answered children’s questions at the Sirius Educational Center for Gifted Children.
When asked by a boy from Kaliningrad when Russia will be crossed out from the "blacklist" of countries with negative natural population increase, Putin said, "It is not so. The situation changed two years ago."
"Over the recent years we have implemented a number of programs aimed at supporting maternity and childhood," the president said, adding that thanks to that, as well as to certain changes, "so far insufficient but already visible," in the healthcare system life expectancy in Russia has gone up and infant mortality has decreased, even despite the fact that Russia has adopted stricter international standards of infant mortality statistics.
"Maternal mortality has been brought nearly to zero and this is very important. So, we have managed to reverse the negative tendencies as have been having natural population increase for more than two years," he stressed.
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Olga Golodets said earlier that Russia had been registering population growth for the fourth year. In 2016, it was 5,400 people. She said further efforts were needed to reduce mortality rates. In her words, mortality decreased by 23,500 last year.