Thursday, May 5, 2011

Window on Eurasia: Ethnic Russians to Lose Majority in RF Population by Mid-Century, Scholar Says

Paul Goble

Staunton, May 5 – Russia’s demographic decline means not only that the total population of the counry will decline but that ethnic Russians who now form about three-quarters of that country’s population will lose their majority within the population sometime in the middle of this century, according to a Russian scholar.

Not only are fertility rates lower and mortality rates higher among ethnic Russians than among most non-Russian groups, researchers at the Russian Academy of Economic Sciences say, but the influx of non-Russian immigrants is accelerating this Russian decline ( ).

And while many may be inclined to dismiss this essay because it is so obviously informed by animosity toward those involved with the dismantling of the Soviet Union and the rule of the Russian Federation since 1991, its arguments deserve attention both on their own terms and because of what they suggest about the thinking of some scholars in Moscow.

In a 5,000-word article posted online this week, B.I. Iskakov, a professor and member of both that academy and the International Slavic Academy, provides one of the most detailed descriptions of this process, one he describes as the result of the policies of the post-Soviet Russian government and “the demo-genocide of the [ethnic] Russian nation in Russia.”

According to “optimistic predictions,” Iskakov says, Russians are at risk of losing their majority status in the Russian Federation “in the 2060s [or] 2070s.” But “unfortunately,” he continues, because Russian statistics are so problematic even now, that loss of majority status is in fact likely to occur even sooner unless Moscow changes its policies.

Indeed, given migration and ethnic Russian fertility and mortality rates, “the Russian people could loseits predominant position in the structure of the population of the Russian Federation “much earlier, already in the first half of the 21st century,” which Iskakov says will lead to the division and demise of Russia.

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