Russia’s population could be far larger than America’s, Putin says, if only it had been spared chaos of communism’s rise and fall

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The world’s largest country would be home to hundreds of millions more people were it not for the events of the 20th century, which saw Russia rocked by revolution and near-total collapse, President Vladimir Putin has argued.

Speaking as part of a meeting with schoolchildren on Wednesday, Putin said that the country’s bloody history had hindered the growth of its population. “Here, in our nation, over the course of the 20th century, the Russian state disintegrated twice.” He pointed to “the revolution of 1917, when the Empire ceased to exist” as the beginning of the turmoil. “And then the collapse of the Soviet Union happened.”

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