Natives of the Post-Soviet Countries in the Population of Russia

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Indian Journal of Science and Technology, Vol 9(29), DOI: 10.17485/ijst/2016/v9i29/90148, August 2016
ISSN (Print) : 0974-6846
ISSN (Online) : 0974-5645
Natives of the Post-Soviet Countries in the
Population of Russia: International
Migrants or Not?
Salavat I. Abylkalikov*
National Research University Higher School of Economics (HSE),Moscow, Russian Federation;
[email protected]
In this article, the role of natives from the former republics of the USSR in forming the population of Russia is analysed. In
spite of the fact that Russia formally was ranked to be the second country in the world after the USA in regards to the numbers that were born abroad, only a small part of them are international migrants. From 11 million people, only one-third
arrived to Russia after the disintegration of the Soviet Union. Furthermore, they are not repatriates, they returned home
to be representative of the people that traditionally live in Russia. In this article, not only are the scales of resettlement in
Russia calculated, but also an attempt to estimate the survival of migrants, by an accommodation assessment in place of
their installation being made. The vast majority of migrants from Belarus, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Ukraine, Abkhazia and
South Ossetia lived in Russia for more than 10 years, and it is difficult to distinguish them from locals. Among the natives
of these countries, included: Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Moldova and Armenia. A high share of those who lived in
a residence for less than 3 years, are considered to be new settlers. A large number of the arrived return to their countries, even if they at first wished to remain in Russia on a permanent residence. A large migratory turnover does not cause
a large number of the saved-up migrants in case of their low survival. Keywords: Census, Integration of Migrants,Lifetime Migrants
1. Introduction
According to the UN, it was indicated that Russia has
11 million that were born outside the country and takes
second place in the world after the USA, where 45.8 million citizens were born abroad3. In addition to Russia and
the USA, the first ten countries also include Germany
(9.8 million), Saudi Arabia (9.1 million), the United Arab
Emirates (7.8 million), Great Britain (7.8 million), France
(7.4 million), Canada (7.3 million), Australia (6.5 million), and Spain (6.5 million). Contrary to the opinion of
many Russian mass media that hurried to call Russia the
second most attractive country to migrants in the world18,
experts in the UN made the clause that in the case of
the former USSR, the speech partially discusses internal migrants making movements within their uniform
*Author for correspondence
country8. They ‘trained for a new profession’ among international migrants, only owing to the formation of new
frontiers in the former Soviet Union, which was similar
with Yugoslavia’s case.
Because migration is always followed by accommodating a new change of conditions, new settlers do not
always get accustomed and adapt in their new place1–24.
The less time passes from the time they change residence;
the probability of moving to a new place is higher. The
research conducted in the USSR revealed that at living less than 3 years’ intensity of leaving is higher many
times over, than at old residents, they are most migration
mobile2,12. According to a number of authors, 10 years are more
than a sufficient term for migrants to adapt and integrate in their new place. They are already adapted and
Natives of the Post-Soviet Countries in the Population of Russia: International Migrants or Not?
i­ ntegrated into an accepting community, and according to
many characteristics, are similar to the local autochthonic
population. Therefore, they are less likely than others to
be inclined to change their residence12,19. Furthermore, in foreign research it was confirmed
that the employment level and economic activity of immigrants who lived in New Zealand for 10 years and more,
already differ slightly from those who were born in this
country6. Between distinctions of natives and immigrants
in the Netherlands, those that lived in the country for
more than a decade, in the level of access to a health care
system are not observed any more9. A research in Britain
shows that with an increase in the length of residence, the
share of the occupied - 47% lived there for more than 1
year, 67% arrived more than 5 years ago, and 73% for 10
years or more7. 2. Materials and Methods
Until recently, the answer to a question, what part of the
residents of Russia were born beyond its borders arrived
before the collapse of the USSR, and after that as well as
in what distinctions of these migrants depended on that
territory for an outcome, which was complicated because
of restrictions in the development of census materials.
In 2014, Rosstat provided access to a base of microthese
for the All-Russian population censuses 2002 and 2010,
where information on the people residing in Russian territory were contained. The base of microdata was capable
to provide a more flexible approach to data than publications of traditional census results at the expense of the
possibility of designing of any model of the table. A nonpersonified base of microdata does not provide access on
particular persons and to groups of people with certain
characteristics. By means of the SuperWEB2 web interface, it is possible to make cross-tables, usually with
dimensions to 3-4 measurements, which are suitable for
the descriptive analysis1.
Estimates of the UN do not belong to migratory flows
(migration flows), but actually to the number of movements determined, as a rule, by the current accounting,
and to the migratory contingents (migrants stock), which
is to the total number of people not living in the country in which they were born. The contingents of migrants
are defined most often by means of the question of the
birthplace asked in a population census or special selective inspection. The migrants revealed by criterion of
discrepancy of the place of residence and birthplace being
Vol 9 (29) | August 2016 |
lifelong (lifetime migrants)21,16. Therefore, the criterion of
a birthplace is invariable for the person during all their
life, unlike criterion of the previous residence defined
in censuses of some countries, such as for example, in
India4,5. 3. Results
Natives of the former federal republics play an important
role in forming the population of Russia and its specific
regions. In 2010, they made 7.4% of resident population of Russia or 10.5 million people [Table 1]. From
these, natives from Ukraine were more than 27%, while
Kazakhstan had 23%. Every 10th was born in Uzbekistan.
Less than on 1% came from the general share of natives
Table 1. Natives of former USSR countries in the
Russian population in 2010
Natives of other
countries, one thousand
duration, in %
Arrived Arrived
3 years
1 549
1 696
1 180
South Ossetia
In total
4 422
6 101
Indian Journal of Science and Technology
Salavat I. Abylkalikov
from Baltic Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, as well as certain partially recognised states in the former Soviet Union,
Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
No less than 42% (4.4 million people) of other countries’ natives were not international migrants since those
that moved until 1991 was inclusive, until the collapse of
the USSR. They are natives of the former federal republics
and during the resettlement in existing areas at that time,
RSFSR crossed internal administrative borders, but not
borders with another state.
In regards to ethnic structure, among those that
arrived after 1991 from 6.1 million Russians, there
were 3 million and 233 thousand people (or 57% from
among moved at this time). Furthermore, Russians from
Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan accounted for more than
70% of all that arrived. From Kazakhstan, Tajikistan,
Moldova and Turkmenistan, had more than 60%. From
Kazakhstan after the collapse of the USSR into Russia,
more than 1.2 million Russians arrived, or nearly 39%
of all Russians that arrived at this time were from the
former Soviet Union. Furthermore, in absolute values,
the number of Russians that arrived from Ukraine (650
thousand people), Uzbekistan (418 thousand people),
and Kyrgyzstan (250 thousand people) were great during
this period. Therefore, it should be noted that census data
on ethnic structure of migrants became unique because
similar information on the current accounting ceased to
gather since 2008. 315 thousand more people who arrived in Russia after
1991 were representatives of the people that were traditionally living in Russia (Tatars, Bashkirs, other people of
the Volga region, Yakuts, Buryats, the people of Dagestan,
etc.). These people, as well as Russians, were repatriates
returning home. Among them, there were descendants of
the specialists from Russia helping to develop a national
economy in the Soviet period, subjugators of a virgin soil,
children of military personnel, representatives of repressed
people that were born in deportations in Kazakhstan as
well as Central Asia (Chechens, Ingushs, etc.)14.
Therefore, it is possible to carry to ‘these’ international
migrants no more than 3.1 million permanent residents
of Russia (or slightly less than a third of all natives of
other countries in the population of Russia at the time of
the 2010 population census). In that case, Russia was in
the list of the UN falling into the 16th position, between
Thailand and Jordan provided that for reasons, similar
with Russia, leaders were left by Post-Soviet Ukraine and
Kazakhstan10. Vol 9 (29) | August 2016 |
4. Discussion
After the collapse of the USSR, the geography of migratory flows significantly changed. Considerable migratory
activity of natives from Ukraine and Belarus, while activity
of natives from the Central Asian republics, Kazakhstan
and Transcaucasia grew decreased11. Therefore, on censuses 1989, 2002 and 2010, when the question about
birthplace (place of birth) was set, the number of natives
of the former federal republics were approximately at one
level, about 10.5-11 million people, but their structure
[Figure 1] considerably changed. Therefore, if in 1989,
more than half of the migrants in Russia fell on Ukraine
and Belarus, and in the subsequent their role promptly
fell. Generally, were at the expense of Kazakhstan, the
republics of Central Asia and Transcaucasia. In addition to the number of migrants, how they were
fixed in structure of an accepting community is important. Natives of different parts of the former USSR have
on average, a different duration of accommodation in a
permanent address.
Old residents most of all were among natives of
Belarus, Ukraine and the Baltic States at 75-80%[Table
1]. Whereas among the republics of Central Asia, except
Turkmenistan, they were less than a half. Among natives of
certain countries like Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan,
Moldova, and Armenia, a high share of those that lived in
a residence for less than 3 years, were new settlers. It not only testifies that a number of migrants were
from Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan are growing
since the beginning of the 2000’s, but also that they are less
than the others are oriented to a long-term residence in
Russia. There is ‘a routine of personnel’ – a large number
Figure 1. Natives of the countries of the former USSR in
the population of Russia.
Indian Journal of Science and Technology
Natives of the Post-Soviet Countries in the Population of Russia: International Migrants or Not?
arrived were compensated so that many leave back even if
they initially wished to remain in Russia on a permanent
residence. Therefore, a large migratory turnover does not
cause a large number of saved-up migrants in case of their
low survival13. Natives of Belarus, the Baltic States, and Ukraine
move less often, their survival in Russia is higher. That
is not surprising, considering they have great linguistic,
cultural, ethnic community, and prevalence for personal
contact with residents in Russia20. It is worth noticing that the criteria of a permanent
residence are not exact and strongly underestimates the
number of migrants who moved in the borders of the
Soviet Union. For example, if the natives of the federal
republic moved to Russia until 1991, and then made
movement or even some movements after 1991 already
within Russia, by this criterion, it cannot be separated
from the international migrants crossing the frontier.
This movement, on the contrary, will be determined by
the current accounting by bodies of Rosstat to be an internal migration. 5. Conclusion
In spite of the fact that Russia on the number of natives
of other countries cedes in the population only by the
USA, only a small part from them were the international
migrants in the usual sense of this word. From 11 million
people, no more than a third arrived to Russia after the
collapse of the USSR and were not repatriates. Owing to
this fact, a talk on the second place in the world on the
number of the international migrants was not quite reasonable. Russia only became on the way of the country,
which is rather accepting of international migrants.
The result of migratory processes depends not only on
resettlement scales, but also on the survival of migrants.
Natives of the different republics of the USSR have different survival, which consist overwhelmingly a part of
natives from Belarus, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Ukraine,
Abkhazia, and South Ossetia lived in Russia for more
than 10 years continuously. Therefore, it is already difficult to distinguish them from locals. Furthermore, among
natives of Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Moldova,
and Armenia, more than 10% arrived recently. Therefore,
that is only about the resident population. These new settlers can move from place to place, thereby a large number
of the arrived were compensated so that the most leave
them back.
Vol 9 (29) | August 2016 |
Further work on an article subject can be continued in
detecting of features of transformation of important social
and demographic characteristics of lifelong migrants
(lifetime migrants) in Post-Soviet time, ethnic origin, age
structure, education level, as well as studying natives in
Russia in the Post-Soviet countries on materials of their
national population censuses. 6. Acknowledgement
The results of the project ‘Demographic trends in Russia
and in the OECD countries: comparative analysis and
implications for policy’, were carried out within the
framework of the Basic Research Program at the National
Research University Higher School of Economics (HSE)
in 2015, were presented in this work.
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