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Putin Identifies Sports as a Powerful Weapon in Stopping Population Fall

by Kathy Jones on  January 26, 2013 at 11:08 PM General Health News   - G J E 4
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Russian President Vladimir Putin revealed that sports could be an important weapon for the country to stop the falling population rate and keep its citizens healthy.
 Putin Identifies Sports as a Powerful Weapon in Stopping Population Fall
Putin Identifies Sports as a Powerful Weapon in Stopping Population Fall

Russia's population has fallen by more than five million since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 as a result of lower birth rates and life expectancy, although recent government estimates show a small rise since the 2010 census.

"We're carrying out large-scale targeted interventions in the field of demographics, but without instilling a taste for sport, all of our efforts will have little effect on progress," he said.

Putin has been keen in recent months to encourage more sport in schools, universities and the military, and Thursday said he would head a new council of trustees for student sports clubs.

University sport should be "absolutely depoliticised" and promote "fitness and a healthy lifestyle", he said.

Putin signed a government order two years ago to introduce sports scholarships for talented student athletes by providing them with extra government funding at university, and expressed frustration Thursday that the plan had yet not been implemented.

"I ask the Education Minister to pay attention to this," he said.

Putin also drew on memories of his own student days, when he competed in judo, and said it gave him a "direct connection" to the issue.

Last month, Putin called for a revival of sports clubs in Russian universities and schools as part of a raft of measures aimed at reviving Soviet-era sports structures.

And before that, he charged the defence ministry with bringing back dedicated sports units in the Russian Army.

The aim there is to satisfy the draft requirement while protecting future champions from the full rigors of military service.



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