Russia’s population numbers are declining “catastrophically” with several regions vastly underestimating their death rates, a top government official has said.

Russia has struggled with a demographic crisis in recent years, with population numbers falling for the first time in a decade to 146.8 million last year. Official data for 2019 places Russia’s population at 146.7 million, declining by 149,000 people in the first four months of the year.

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