Saturday, January 21, 2023

Russian Census Like Russian Elections with Results Known in Advance, Yarkayev Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Jan. 17 – Rais Yarkayev, head of the Tatar National Cultural Autonomy of St. Petersburg, says that there are approximately 600,000 Tatars in the Northern Capital and not the 20,000 the latest census records. The difference reflects the fact that the last census did not in fact take place: “it was a pure formality.”

            The authorities decided how many of each minority they wanted to see and that is the number they got, Yarkayev says. In that regard, this census resembled Russian elections where the officials decide who will get how many votes and then record them after going through the motions of actually counting (

            Because Russian officials don’t want to have to take the opinions of minorities into account, they have a vested interest in reducing the official numbers of those groups as much as possible and that is exactly what they have done in this enumeration because it is obvious that the smaller the group, the less anyone has to pay attention to it.

            The only place where Tatars were counted as a nation more or less accurately,Yarkayev suggests, is Tatarstan. As a result, by their actions, Russian officials have made the republic even more important to Tatars outside its borders not less, perhaps one of the few results of the census the Russian officials didn’t control and don’t welcome.

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