Monday, February 12, 2024

Relative to Population, Moscow Ranked Only 14th among Federal Subjects as Place to Which Russians from Other Parts of the Country Moved Last Year

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Feb. 8 – More than 110,000 Russians from other parts of the country moved to Moscow city and oblast last year, but despite that large number, these arrivals formed only 2.81 people per 1,000 residents, a figure that means the agglomeration ranked 14th among the federal subjects and was under considerably less internal migration pressure than many others.

            That is just one of the conclusions Novyye izvestiya journalist Mariya Sokolova offers on the basis of Rosstat data for the first eleven months of 2023 ( Among her most intriguing findings are the following:

·       The big losers of population in gross terms were the predominantly ethnic Russian regions of Siberia and the Russian Far East. (Daghestan in the North Caucasus was in fifth place.) At the very top of the losers was Irkutsk Oblast which lost 5390 people during that period, 80 percent of whom were young between in their 20s and 30s.

·       In terms of per capita losses, however, Tyva lost the most, with 6.65 per 1,000 residents leaving over these 11 months. It was followed by three other federal subjects also east of the Urals – the Jewish AD, the Transbaikal Kray, and Tomsk Oblast – and in fifth place – the Komi Republic in the North.

·       Among the gross gainers, after Moscow city and oblast, were Krasnodar Kray, Leningrad Oblast, Khanty-Mansiisk AD; but the list was very different if measured in terms of the number per 1,000. There, the Nenets AD was in first place with 19.16 arrivals per 1,000 residents, followed by the Khanty-Mansiisk AD, Leningrad Oblast, Sebastopol in occupied Crimea, and Moscow Oblast.

Although this pattern is at variance with what many assume, it makes perfect sense, Sokolova points out. Russians follow the money. Many naturally go to Moscow, but relative to population, they go to oil and gas rich areas where pay is especially high, a pattern that creates problems for many places that in some respects worse than those of the capital.

Obviously, Russians are increasingly mobile. And one anecdotal account suggests just how much this is the case. Vadim Shtepa, editor of the Tallinn-based Region.Expert portal, says that of the 21 pupils in his class in Vorkuta several decades ago, only three still live there (

Of the remaining 18, he reports, five moved to the southern portions of the country, four to one of the two capitals, and nine left Russia altogether and now living in Ukraine, EU countries, Israel and the United States.

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