Staunton, Jan. 19 – Since the end of Soviet times, each succeeding Russian census has been worse than the one before it. The 2002 enumeration was worse than the 1989 one; the 2010 census was still worse, and the 2021 was “the worst in the entire history of the country,” according to Aleksey Raksha, an independent Moscow demographer.
The combination of the pandemic and popular indifference to the latest enumeration, he says, meant that a large partof the population was not counted accurately but instead invented to serve various administrative interests both in the regions and republics and in Moscow, he says (milliard.tatar/news/demograf-aleksei-raksa-tatary-odna-iz-samyx-ustoicivyx-nacii-v-povolze-2767).
In many respects, Raksha continues, it might have been better not to have been conducted at all, given how much distortion its reported findings have introduced in official thinking and how much anger and fear it has generated in some places, few more than among the Tatars who saw their reported population drop by more than 600,000 since 2021.
That figure can be dismissed as inaccurate, he argues, because while there has been some assimilation and loss of identity, these factors have been nothing like so large as would be required to lead to that outcome given that “the Tatars are one of the most stable nations in the Middle Volga along with the Chuvash and the Bashkirs.
They are in fact and need to remind themselves of this in a much better position than the Mordvins, the Udmurts and the Maris, Finno-Ugric neighbors who are assimilating “much more rapidly than are Turkic nations” like the Tatars.