Friday, August 11, 2023

Continued Shrinking of Russia’s ‘Great Russian Core’ Highlighted in Latest Census Results

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Aug. 4 – The results of the latest Russian census show that “the Great Russian core,” that is, the non-Black Earth regions that have historically been the central hearth of the Russian nation, is shrinking,” with all the factors on view pointing to the complete demise of its villages and the survival of only some of its larger cities, Pavel Pryanikov says.

            He draws that conclusion ( on the basis of findings in a new book published by the Institute of Economics of the Urals Section of the Russian Academy of Sciences entitled Demographic Factors of Population Adaption to Global Socio-Economic Challenges (in Russian; Yekaterinburg, 2023, 766 pp.; full text at   

Three of the findings of that volume are especially noteworthy:


·       “The population of the Tver region is falling - from 2.6 million people. according to the 1926 census, to 1.2 million people now. According to the 2020 census, and since the early 1990s, the urban population is already declining.” In Sverdlovsk Oblast, the same pattern holds in the villages but unlike in Tver Oblast, the regional capital is growing.

·       Smaller cities and town in Sverdlovsk Oblast are losing people up to 11.4 per 1000 each year, by super-high adult mortality, by low birthrate and by an increasing demographic burden on workers as the number of pensioners relative to workers rises.

·       The socio-economic prospects of these small towns if current trends continue are sad: a further active reduction in the population is to be expected, up to the point of depopulation, a development that will entail a rapid contraction of social and economic activity.  

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