МОСКВА, 28 декабря 2021, Институт РУССТРАТ.
We are used to the fact that, despite about 160 different nationalities living in our huge state, Russia is a mono-ethnic state — more than 80% of its population is Russian. Countries such as Armenia, Australia, Bangladesh, Brazil, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Poland, Portugal, North and South Korea, Egypt, Japan, as well as many Arab countries of the Arabian Peninsula are also mono-ethnic.
This state of affairs has developed over many years or even centuries due to social and cultural development, wars, agreements and, of course, migration processes.
Migration processes have not spared us either. The period of collectivisation, repression, development of virgin lands, the vast expanses of Central Asia with the construction of industrial giants was accompanied by the displacement of hundreds of thousands of people. Representatives of European and other ethnic groups who had not previously lived there moved to the territories of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan.
With the collapse of the USSR, everything went in the opposite direction. After gaining independence and opening the borders of the Central Asian country, many people moved to their historical Motherland. This process was massive, but it lasted a relatively short amount of time.
The basis of the new round of migration was Russia’s initiation of a state program for the resettlement of compatriots living abroad. Along the way, this was spurred on (and is being spurred on) by the peculiarities of national construction. It can be assumed that all these processes will lead to the return of the designated countries to their ethnically original state. Whether this is true or not, what are the pros and cons of mono-national states, and what this will mean for Russia — we will try to understand these issues in this article.
The main factors influencing the increase or decrease in the share of one nation in the total population of a country are migration and birth rate. The overwhelming majority of Russians are involved in migration processes. By the time of the collapse of the USSR, 9.4 million Russians lived in the already independent states of Central Asia (Kazakhstan — 6.1 million, Uzbekistan — 1.6 million, Kyrgyzstan — 917,000, Tajikistan — 388,500, Turkmenistan — 333,900).
Most of them are descendants of immigrants of the 19th-20th centuries, that is, people who are indigenous to the countries of Turkestan. Due to circumstances, they appeared here and stayed alive. They gave birth to children and grandchildren, for whom these countries became their Motherland. This is eloquently evidenced by the fact that as of 2007, about 60% of Russians who lived in Central Asia at the time of the collapse of the USSR remained in Central Asia.
Now their number has significantly decreased. Thus, about 3.5 million Russians live in Kazakhstan (-43%), 650,000 in Uzbekistan (-60%), 364,500 in Kyrgyzstan (-61%), and 34,800 in Tajikistan (-91%). There is no local statistical data for Turkmenistan, but according to the Russian Foreign Ministry, by 2005 the number of Russians in the country had decreased from 9.5% to 3.5%.
Let’s move on to the number of state-forming nationalities:
- Kazakhstan: 69% Kazakh, 23% Russian, 8% other
- Uzbekistan: 84% Uzbek, 8% Russian, 8% other
- Kyrgyzstan: 73% Kyrgyz, 14% Uzbek, 6% Russian, 7% other
- Tajikistan: 84% Tajik, 12% Uzbek, 6% other
- Turkmenistan: 91% Turkmen, 9% the rest
As can be seen from the table, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan are already mono-ethnic states (91% and 84% each). At the same time, in Tajikistan, Uzbeks make up more than 10% of the total population, and their number is growing. This is partly due to the proximity of Uzbekistan itself, which has a significant human resource, to Tajikistan. Therefore, it is unlikely that the percentage presence of Tajiks will go beyond 90%.
In contrast, the number of other ethnic groups in Uzbekistan is steadily decreasing. There is every reason to believe that at this rate they will assimilate and turn Uzbekistan into another mono-national state in the region.