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    Russia's population may decline by 1.8% annually from 2050

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    MOSCOW, June 30 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's population will decline by 1.8% annually from 2050, if the authorities fail to take effective social and economic measures in the world's largest country of just 144 million, a federal minister said Thursday at a government session.

    Regional Development Minister Vladimir Yakovlev said that one-third of populated settlements in some Russian regions had been abandoned.

    Those in the countryside cannot seriously affect the country's birth rate, Yakovlev said.

    He called the decline of the country's economically active population, the low birth rate and high mortality rate an alarming trend.

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