Staunton, Oct. 8 – Like its Soviet predecessor, the Russian government is happy to see a decline in the number of nationalities listed in the census if that is the result of the assimilation of members of the smaller nations to the ethnic Russians. But Moscow is unlikely to welcome a development that will lead to a similar decline.
That is the reconsolidation of nations that Moscow split apart to divide and rule the country. The most likely case of this in the upcoming census involves the dozen nationalities into which the Soviet government broke the Circassian nation, a division the Russian government has maintained (jamestown.org/program/moscows-delay-of-2020-census-opens-way-for-circassian-promotion-of-common-identity/ and windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2019/12/circassian-drive-to-declare-common.html).
But it is far from the only case, as two leading specialists on the ethnic map of the Russian Federation make clear. Akhmet Yarlykapov, a scholar at the MGIMO Center for the Study of Problems of the Caucasus, says other small people may follow the Circassian example (kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/368861/ and kavkaz-uzel.eu/articles/368794/