Thursday, April 8, 2021

Only in Four Federal Subjects – All Non-Russian Republics – Did Population Show Natural Growth Over Last Three Years

Paul Goble

            Staunton, April 5 – Twenty-one of Russia’s more than 80 federal subjects showed an increase in population between 2018 and 2020, but in 17 of these, the increase came not from births over deaths of the indigenous population but from in-migration. Only four – Chechnya, Ingushetia, Daghestan and Tyva – grew mostly by having more births than deaths.

            Those figures were presented in a new report by the Moscow Institute of Demography, Migration, and Regional Development which also noted that four federal subjects had not changed in size at all, while 44 saw their populations decline (

            All the losers and most of those whose population remained unchanged were predominantly ethnic Russian oblasts and krays that could not attract migrants in sufficient number to make up for the deficit in births over deaths and that in many cases lost population because of outmigration to major metropolitan centers like Moscow.

            Because of the attention non-Slav immigrant populations receive in the Russian capital and other big cities, many people assume that people in the non-Russian republics want to leave in ever increasing numbers. But another study released this week shows that is not the case. In fact, young people in the North Caucasus overwhelmingly want to remain where they are.

             According to research by the Center for Monitoring Public Opinion at the North Caucasus Federal University, 67 percent of young people in that federal district “connect their future with their native region.” The other third divide evenly between those who want to go elsewhere in Russia and those who want to move abroad (

            Such attachment to their republics is striking given the high level of unemployment and numerous social problems that people in that region face. And it suggests that young people, perhaps even more than their parents, are attached to their republic and their nation far more tightly than Moscow thinks.

            If young people do not move out and if conditions remain bad, that will create a pressure cooker environment likely to produce more political demands on both republic leaders and on Moscow, something that neither has been very good at responding to in recent years except with increasing repression.

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