Staunton, Jan. 16 – The number of Belarusians living in Russia according to the official Russian census fell from 521,000 in 2010 to only 208,000 in 2021, a decline of more than 60 percent and one that makes the decline of ethnic Russians over the same period even more striking because these Belarusians almost certainly were counted as Russians.
That trend continues one that began at the end of Soviet times -- in 1989, the date of the last Soviet census, some 1.2 million Belarusians were listed as living in the RSFSR – and that means that one million Belarusians have simply been “disappeared” by Russian officialdom, Ales Chaychyts of Svaboda says (svaboda.org/amp/32225168.html).
The new figure is especially striking, the Belarusian commentator says, because hundreds of thousands of Belarusians had migrated to the Russian Federation before the pandemic and because “being a Belarusian in Russia is quite prestigious in the most conservative-Soviet circles who are sympathetic to Lukashenka’s regime.”
Historically and like the Ukrainians, Belarusians have lived in many parts of Russia from areas neighboring the current Belarusian state to the Pacific coast. In the past, these Belarusians had their own schools and cultural institutions but now all those have been suppressed so that Belarusians can be officially absorbed into the Russian nation.
No one knows exactly how many Belarusians there are in the Russian Federation, including the Kremlin, Chaychyts says. But they are greater than those being reported. The ones Russian officials have announced are what the Russian government wants people to believe, and these figures will soon be published in all statistical almanacs and guidebooks.
On the basis of these, she continues, “fake analyses will be carried out, fake conclusions drawn, and the wrong policies will be followed, the core principle of which will be the further ignoring of Belarusians.”
What these figures should show to the world, Chaychyts says, is that “Russian chauvinism is the main enemy of Belarus and Belarusians” and that “chauvinism has become part of Russian state policy.”