Staunton, Mar. 6 – In the Middle Volga, Tatars have reacted to the results of the 2021 Russian census extremely negatively, especially with regard to their overall growth rate as compared to the overall growth rate of the Bashkirs, Nail Gilmanov says; but the explanation is not to be found in falsification by Ufa but in the patterns of residence of the two nations.
The Moscow-based Tatar analyst points out that within their respective republics, both Tatars and Bashkirs increased in number, 3.9 percent and 8 percent, a difference but not a fundamental one. However, outside their republics, the two both suffered major losses (milliard.tatar/news/velika-li-raznica-mezdu-itogami-perepisi-2021-dlya-tatar-i-baskir-3024).
There, the two Turkic nations suffered roughly the same losses, with the Tatars declining 28 percent and the Bashkirs 27 percent. But because more than half of Tatars live outside Tatarstan while only about 20 percent of Bashkirs live outside Bashkortostan, the impact of these losses was greater.
And that rather than manipulations by Ufa, although some undoubtedly took place, is the primary reason why the number of Tatars fell so much between 2010 and 2021as compared to the total number of Bashkirs over the same period, the analyst continues.
That pattern highlights a more general one, he suggests. Within both non-Russian republics and Russian oblasts and krays, it is likely that officials listed people with Slavic names as ethnic Russians even if they weren’t while listing those without Slavic names as “persons without nationality.”
That helped officials keep the percentage of ethnic Russians listed in the census higher than in fact it is and drove down the number of those non-Russian groups who live outside their home republics. That was especially true in Moscow where officials wanted the share of ethnic Russians to be shown to be above 90 percent even though it is far lower than that.
But Gilmanov shows that this pattern holds outside of the capital as well: “In the majority of ethnic Russian oblasts,” he says, “the number of non-Russian peoples became on average 25 to 30 percent fewer” over the last intercensal period, allowing regional heads to claim that the share of ethnic Russians was higher, exactly what Moscow wants.