Monday, October 30, 2023

Ethnic Russian Men Disappearing in Heartland and Being Replaced by Immigrants, Demographers Say

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Oct. 28 – Indigenous ethnic Russian men are disappearing from villages in central Russia both as a result of outmigration and lower life expectancies, but this trend has been hidden in demographic statistics because in many cases, they are being replaced by immigrants from Central Asia and the Caucasus, two demographers say.

            Tamara Rostovskaya of the Moscow Institute of Sociology and Natalya Rychikhina of Ivanovo State University offer as evidence of this what is happening in Ivanovo Oblast, one of the traditionally most ethnic Russian areas of the country, according to Russian commentator Pavel Pryanikov (

            In the bulletin of the Semashko National Research Institute on Public Health (in Russian; no. 3 (2023), the two point out that life expectancy for men in Ivanovo Oblast is now 64.03 years, below the retirement age of 65. Men are dying at earlier ages because of alcoholism and other unhealthy behaviors.

            But while ethnic Russian men are dying earlier or leaving to work elsewhere, Rostovskaya and Rychikhina report, “the male population of the Ivanov region is in fact increasing as a result of the influx of migrants” from Central Asia and the Caucasus, “most of whom are men.”

            Regional officials are trumpeting their success in growing the male population but ignoring the fact that it has been achieved only by the replacement of ethnic Russians with non-Russians, Pryanikov says. And they have ignored the demographic consequences of that development.

            On the one hand, it is likely to depress the birthrates in these villages; but on the other, it may lead to a fusion of two or more nationalities, with some of the new arrivals into the region being Russianized and Russified but with perhaps many of the children of ethnically mixed marriages either left undefined in ethnic terms or even becoming less Russian as a result.   


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