Putin might be having one of those “how did we get here” moments. A short history course might help him to understand. First came the communists, and waves of people were liquidated. It was a process which continued until Stalin’s death. When Stalin was young, he purged and executed the officers of his military. Hitler attacked, and 5 million military men were captured, of which 3 million died in captivity. The absence of competent military leaders revealed the folly of Stalin. Not to mention of course, the other millions of Russians who died in the war. Millions of lives wasted due to communism. Of course, those millions who died would have passed on by now. But those millions would have procreated and Russia would be having a different kind of population problem now. Hey pooty poot, in your quiet time, maybe you can say a silent prayer for those wasted lives in the war and gulags. And after prayer, curse the prior leaders of Russia.
I’ve read Russia has lost more than 40,000 population centers down from total 158,000 it had in 1990, including over 200 cities.
Thus, they have a slight population growth since 2010.
In 20/20 hindsight...murdering millions of your own kind is never a good idea - especially now when you see militant jihadis having several kids with several wives.