The Soviet Population Policy Debate

Actors and Issues

by Murray Feshbach


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This Note examines the Soviet Union's successful campaign since the early 1960s to revive demography as a science and as a foundation for population policies. It traces the connections between expert discussions and policy decisions, and describes the tactics Soviet scholars use to direct attention toward complex and sensitive issues. The source materials are Soviet monographs, journals, and newspapers, as well as internal small-circulation documents and information the author acquired on personal visits. The findings suggest that the channels, including personal ties, by which individual or collective recommendations reach the levels where new policies are authorized remain obscure, but there is no doubt that demographers in the Soviet Union have been heard.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Note series. The note was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1979 to 1993 that reported other outputs of sponsored research for general distribution.

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