ISSN 2409-2274

Contraceptive revolution inRussia

Anatoly Vishnevsky 1, Boris Denisov1, Viktoria Sakevich 1

  • 1 National Research University Higher School of Economics, 20 Myasnitskaya Str., Moscow, 101000, Russian Federation

2017, no1, pp. 6–34


In the 1960s and 1970s, with the introduction of hormonal contraception, as well as of a new generation of intrauterine contraception, Western countries saw cardinal changes in methods of fertility regulation so significant that the American demographers Westoff and Ryder called them "The contraceptive revolution." By this time, the transition to low fertility in developed countries, as, indeed, in Russia, was completed, and family planning had become a common practice. However, the new technologies significantly increased the effectiveness of birth control, and this change would have important social and demographic consequences.Underestimation of the importance of family planning and underdevelopment of the corresponding services in the USSR and in Russia led to the contraceptive revolution beginning here much later than in the West, already in the post-Soviet years with the arrival of a market economy and information openness. For decades, induced abortion played a key role in the regulation of fertility, and only in the 1990s did modern methods of contraception become widespread and the unfavorable ratio of abortions to births begin to change for the better. The article describes the composition of contraceptive methods used in the countries of European culture and in Russia, and attempts to explain the difference in this composition. Based on national representative sampling survey data, an analysis is made of current practice of contraceptive use in Russia. The conclusion is drawn that the contraceptive revolution in Russia is proceeding rather quickly, although is not receiving substantial state support.

Keywords: birth control; family planning; contraception; contraceptive revolution; abortions; fertility