Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Fewer than 75 Percent of People in Russian Federation are Ethnic Russians, ‘Sovetskaya Rossiya’ Reports

Paul Goble

            Staunton, July 21 – Vladimir Putin’s much-ballyhooed Russian world is numerically contracting both at home and abroad. According to figures offered by Sovetskaya Rossiya, the share of Russians now is under 75 percent of the population of the Russian Federation -- and not the 80 plus percent the Kremlin and its supporters routinely claim.

            And the size of the Russian nation in the world as a whole is declining as well. In 1989, ethnic Russians numbered 146.6 million people in the USSR as a whole, approximately 2.8 percent of the population of the world. Now, their number has fallen to 124.5 million –only 1.6 percent of the earth’s population (sovross.ru/2023/07/19/russkih-stalo-na-22-milliona-menshe/).

            Half of the 22 million decline in the number of ethnic Russians generally occurred within the Russian Federation, Sovetskaya Rossiya reports; and what makes this figure especially disturbing to Russians is that in 1989, Soviet officials predicted that there would be 140.3 million ethnic Russians by the end of 2022, 31 million more than there in fact are.

            “If the dying off of the Russian people isn’t stopped,” Sovetskaya Rossiaya says, then were there will be fewer than 100 million ethnic Russians in the world by 2043, and they will form “fewer than one percent of the world’s population – “or three times less than as the case at the end of the USSR.”

            Such figures, the paper suggests, call into question Putin’s commitment to reviving the Russian nation and highlight the way in which income inequality which is now greater in Russia than at any time in its history has played a role in suppressing births and increasing the number of premature deaths. 

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