Saturday, January 29, 2022

Majority of Longtime Migrant Workers from Central Asia Plan to Remain in Russia Forever, Boosting Muslim and Turkic Component of Population, New Survey Finds

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Dec. 9 – Fifty-seven percent of Central Asian citizens who have been working in the Russian Federation for at least five years plan to remain there forever, according to a new survey conducted by the Higher School of Social Sciences at Moscow State University for the Federal Migration Service.

            The survey involved 4739 respondents from Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. It found that among those migrant workers who had been in Russia three years or less, only 30 percent say they want to remain in Russia permanently (

            This difference likely reflects the difficulties both groups have faced in Russia during the pandemic, with those who have been there longer assuming that the situation will eventually get better while those who have been there for only a shorter period may have concluded that what they are experiencing now is what they will experience in the future.

            Russian reactions to this poll are certain to be ambiguous. On the one hand, many officials in the Putin regime may be pleased that so many of the millions of migrant workers in Central Asia will remain in Russia and become Russian citizens, developments that will help make up for the demographic decline of the indigenous Russian population.

            But on the other, many Russians will be troubled by what this trend means for the ethnic composition of the country. The Central Asian additions may allow the Kremlin to keep claiming that the population of the Russian Federation is stable or increasing, but these same additions, given Russian declines, mean that the population will be increasingly non-Russian.

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