Russia to close 700 schools in birth slump
MOSCOW (AFP) - More than 700 Russian schools are set to close this year because of a slump in the number of children of school age, Russia's chief public health doctor said on Wednesday.
Russia saw birth rates drop dramatically in the turbulent 1990s and its demographic situation has remained negative, with more deaths than births, ever since.
President Vladimir Putin last year urged Russians to have at least three children.
"We plan to close 733 schools this year," said the outspoken public health official Gennady Onishchenko, quoted by the Interfax news agency. "You understand the reason: there aren't enough children," he said.