If anything I would now say that I was underestimating the losses to the population of Russia in the future. The current official projection (medium) by the Russian State Statistical Agency is some 101 million in 2050. [July 2005 estimate of current population is 143 million.] My expectation is that the number will be closer to 75-80, approximately the level of worst-case scenario. The current and imminent number of deaths from HIV/AIDS is much worse than anticipated, as well as the number of deaths from tuberculosis. In addition, hepatitis C deaths will, ceteris paribus, begin to be devastating at the end of the next decade. None of these health factors were incorporated into the projection model of the Statistical Agency.
Population shrinkage caused primarily by a low birth rate is one thing. Population shrinkage caused primarily by a high death rate is quite another. While one can hope that Feshbach's predictions won't come true, I'm reluctant to make premature judgements.
Assuming that this worst-case scenario comes true, Russia will be home to barely more people than Germany, or, if the projections hold true, France and the United Kingdom. Who knows? At this rate, France might end up beating Russia for first prize as the most populous country in Europe. The main difference between Russia on the one hand and the EU-3 on the other would be that Russia would be in significantly worse shape than any of their countries, poor and battered. One thought: What will things look like elsewhere in the former Soviet Union?