MOSCOW, Jan. 24 (Xinhua) -- Sports could be taken as a weapon for Russia to rein in the falling population trend, President Vladimir Putin said Thursday.
"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.
The president would form and lead a new council of trustees for students' sports clubs, and called for sports in the universities to promote "fitness and healthy lifestyle."
Russia's population has fallen by more than five million since the end of the Soviet Union in 1991 as a result of lower birth rates and shower life span, local media reported.
Putin called for a revival of sports clubs in Russian universities and schools as part of the measures to revive Soviet- era sports structures.