Thursday, December 14, 2023

North Caucasus Republics Falsify Statistics More than Other Regions of Russia Typically to Get More Aid from Moscow, Russian Experts Say

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Dec. 10 – If one believes the statistics North Caucasus republics report, the region has the highest rates of divorce, there are almost no murders in Chechnya, and half of the women in Ingushetia do not have any children, according to Mariya Glebova and Anastasiya Kokurova, two investigators for the To Be Precise portal.

            But in fact, these “anomalies” aren’t true and reflect a variety of factors from outright falsification to the socio-cultural differences of the region, they and other experts say (

            They point to distortions in five key areas. First, the republics report far higher populations than they have in order to get aid from Moscow. The experts say that conclusion is confirmed by comparing population data with voter rolls, migration rates, birth rates, and life expectancy figures, none of which supports the expanded population claims.

            Second, they say that the explosive growth in the number of divorces in the North Caucasus reflects not so much societal change as two other factors: many marriages aren’t registered with the state and so can be easily dissolved, and the government gives aid to single mothers making fictive divorces a profitable step for many families.

            Third, claims that there are very few murders in Chechnya or in other republics reflect not a reality but the fact that many murders there are misclassified by local officials as missing persons, although the number of murders in the region undoubtedly is lower than elsewhere in Russia because alcohol consumption is so much lower than in Russia as a whole.

            Fourth, the North Caucasus republics report the lowest incomes of any federal subjects in Russia; but remarkably, the incomes they do report are likely to be higher than in fact is the case, experts who have examined the situation say because they overreport non-wage incomes which may or may not be in fact received.

            And fifth, the North Caucasus has more invalids per 100,000 residents than any other region. Much of this reflects the consequences of the war in Chechnya and violence in neighboring republics. But the extreme figures the republics do report almost certainly are the product of a desire to get more money from the center.

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