Friday, May 13, 2022

Bashkortostan’s Demographic Decline Result of Ufa’s Policies, Garifullin Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, May 1 – The harsh authoritarianism of Bashkortostan leader Murtaza Rakhimov, his efforts to protect the titular nationality and weaken the Tatars, and his failure to develop the republic’s economy and social structure explain Bashkortostan’s continuing demographic decline, Ilnar Garifullin says.

            That is shown by recent demographic data that has already been published, the IdelReal commentator says. Consequently, any claims Ufa and Moscow may make to the contrary on the basis of the just-completed all-Russian census will only serve to highlight just how falsified the numbers in that enumeration are (

            Garifullin draws three important conclusions from this: First, Bashkortostan now has fewer than four million residents and Ufa has lost its “millionaire” status because the government has not made Bashkortostan an attractive destination for immigration or a place which can hold its existing population. Instead, Bashkirs are leaving in droves.

            Second, even in the places where birthrates remain higher, that advantage has been lost because of rising rates of suicide in the republic. Currently, Bashkortostan residents are committing suicide at a rate more than four times as high as people living in neighboring Tatarstan.

            And third, “all these negative trends are intensifying because of the shortsighted and discriminatory policy (at the ethnic level) of the Bashkir powers that be.” Ufa has been giving far less assistance to regions dominated by Tatars even as it attempts to Bashkirize them. But the result has been their departure rather than their re-identification.

            In many ways, Garifullin’s numbers suggest, what is happening in Bashkortostan is a microcosm of what is happening as well in the Russian Federation as a whole, where policies designed to protect the titular nationality are in fact undermining that nation along with members of others.

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