Saturday, February 11, 2023

Tatars Declined by Only Half as Many as Russian Census Reports, New Analysis Shows

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Feb. 9 – The number of Tatars within the borders of the Russian Federation did not decline between 2010 and 2021 by the 600,000 the latest census reported but by fewer than half that number, approximately 250,000, according to Guandam Fatkhullina, the head of the data analysis department at the Milliard.Tatar portal.

            She reaches that conclusion by assigning those who did not have a nationality listed, most often because census takers did not ever contact them, to the Tatars on the basis of rates of changes in their numbers federal subject by federal subject over the last 20 years (

            Two former Russian nationalities ministers, Valery Tishkov and Vladimir Zorin, have justified such assignments but not engaged in the detailed analysis Fatkhullina has ( and

            Instead of focusing only on all-Russian figures of those listed in the census without nationality, Fatkhullina considers important regional variations. In the city of Moscow, the number of people not listed by nationality rose from 668,000 in 2010 to almost three million in 2021, an rise of almost five times.

            But at the other end of the scale was Nizhny Novgorod Oblast where this figure rose from 758 in 2002 to 42,000 in 2010 to more than half a million in 2021, an increase of 12 times since 2010 and of “more than 700 times” since 2002, the Milliard.Tatar data analyst says, largely the result of differences in how many people were never contacted by census takers.

            Because the number of Tatars has always varied widely, she continues, it is necessary to compare the demographic trends region by region between 2002 and 2010 to project what would likely have been their numbers in 2021 if the census had been conducted other than during a pandemic and if more care had been taken.

            If one does that, she says, one concludes that the total number of Tatars in 2021 should actually have been between 5,045,575 and 5,077,488. And that means that the midpoint between those two numbers is 5,061,536. That still represents a decline but one nothing like the decline the Russian census has reported.

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