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First Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said he was pleased by new statistics showing the growing birth rate in the country.

"These are encouraging statistics: 154,000 children were born in
October, an increase of 18 percent from October 2006. This is an absolute
record over the past several years. Over the first 10 months of this year,
1,332,000 children were born, which is 8 percent more than in the same
period of last year," Medvedev said at a meeting of the Expert Council of
the Council for National Projects and Demographic Policy on Wednesday.

"Thank God, life consists not only of political events but of other as
well," he said, opening the meeting.

He suggested discussing an action plan for 2008-2010 under the concept
for demographic policy up to 2025.

"A set of measures was developed and launched from January 1, laws
were put into effect, and there are already first positive results both in
terms of statistics and in terms of better provision of medical institutions
with equipment and supplies," Medvedev said.

In October, President Vladimir Putin signed a decree endorsing the

The government was instructed within three months' time to adopt a
plan of measures for the implementation of the concept in 2008-2010 and in
the period up to 2025.

The concept contains an assessment of the present demographic
situation in Russia and development tendencies, outlines the main principles
of Russia's demographic policy, focusing on the most vital problems and
taking into account the specifics of the demographic situation in each
particular region, emphasises the importance of coordinated efforts by
legislative and executive authorities on the federal, municipal and regional
levels, and outlines the main objectives of Russia's demographic policy that

Lowering the death rate, primarily among citizens of employable age;

Lowering the maternity and infantile death rate, improving the health
of the population of reproductive age, and the health of children and

Lengthening life expectancy in the active period, creating conditions
and giving the necessary impetus for a healthy way of life, lowering
sickness rates caused by socially hazardous diseases and improving care for
sick people suffering from chronic diseases;

Raising the birth rate;

Promoting the institution of the family, reviving and continuing
family traditions; and

Regulating migration, attracting migrants depending on the needs of
the demographic situation and socio-economic development, taking into
account the importance of migrants' adaptation and integration in society.

The government's work to support families with children has already
produced positive results, an official in the Economic Development and Trade
Ministry said earlier this week.

In the first 10 months of 2007, 1.332 million children were born in
Russia, an increase of 96,000 (7.8 percent) from the same period of 2006.

The natural decrease in the population continued to slow down. Its
ratio in 2007 is 3.4 compared to 5.9 in 2005 and 4.8 in 2006.

"Infant mortality is still disappointing, but there is progress there
as well," he added.

The death rate decreased from 10.4 to 9.6 on average across Russia.

"There are regions in Russia where this indicator is close to the
European level of about 4 in St. Petersburg or 5.2 percent in the Rostov
region," the official said.

Owing the national project "Healthcare", the number of patients who
received high-tech medical services increased in 2007 to 153,000 compared to
128,000 in 2006.

The number of people who died from alcohol addiction in 2007 decreased
by 27 percent and the number of people who died from blood circulation
problems decreased by 5 percent.

But economist Abel Aganbegyan of the Academy of National Economy said
the state should take "draconian measures" in order to reduce mortality from
so-called "controllable causes".

Aganbegyan cited the fight against alcoholism as an example. He
recalled the "barbarian resolution of May 1985, which everyone criticised
but which saved 185,000 lives a year."

"The number of suicides decreased from 30 to 19 per 100,000, murders
decreased by 40 percent, and injuries by 89,000 a year," he said.

In his view, "Such methods are not mandatory, but some spheres require
serious, draconian measures."

Aganbegyan also believes that "additional funding is needed" for the
resolution of the demographic problems. "One has to hold a bigger sum in his
hands than the national projects provide in order to get the first impulse,"
he said.

The negative demographic tendency in Russia may be reversed in
2014-2018, according to an optimistic scenario of the Russian development
concept up to 2020, the director of the macroeconomic forecasting department
of the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade, Andrei Klepach, said

"It is possible to reverse the situation in 2014-2018, increase the
population to 141 million by 2020 and up to 142-144 million by 2030. :It is
planned to reverse the tendency for the population aging, but also for a
higher birth rate and for a longer average lifespan," Klepach said.

It is also expected that the average lifespan will reach 75 years.
"Today it is about 66-67 years," the official added.

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