Russians in the South Caucasus: Factors of Dynamics in the Post-Soviet Period and Geodemographic Prospects

Publication type Article
Status Published
Occupation: Chief Researcher
Affiliation: FIC Southern Scientific Center of RAS
Address: Russian Federation, Rostov-on-Don
Journal nameSotsiologicheskie issledovaniya
EditionIssue 9

Collapse of the USSR dramatically accelerated the process of depopulation of Russians in the South Caucasus. In the 1990–2010s, the Russian population of the region decreased from 783 thousand to 140–148 thousand people. Main losses were associated with the outflow to Russia. This decline was widespread and accompanied by serious deformations in age and sex structure of Russians. At present, women and older people are significantly predominant among them. A noticeable part of the settlements in the region (with the exception of Abkhazia) lost the Russian population. The capitals, as well as specific settlements in the countryside founded by the Old Believers during the Imperial period, remain the epicenters of the Russian ethnic presence. Transformation of Russia into the closest ally of the regional states (Abkhazia, South Ossetia) slowed down the rate of decline of their Russian population, while confrontation with Russia (Georgia) significantly accelerated this process. By 2050, number of Russians in the region may fall to 70–90 thousand people. Baku will remain the largest center of the Russian population in the region; however, Russian community of Abkhazia can become comparable to it. In the middle of the century, these two territorial groups may include 85–90% of the Russians of the entire region (in 1989 – 47%). As communities shrink, prospects for an ethnic Russian presence in the South Caucasus will increasingly correlate with the size of the tourist flow and the number of Russians owning local real estate. Russian military units will remain large (or main) centers of the Russian population in a number of countries in the region. Nevertheless, all these groups of Russians will no longer represent diasporas (rooted ethnic communities with a high level of internal communication and the ability to sustainably reproduce themselves).

KeywordsSouth Caucasus, Russian population, geo-demographic dynamics, form of settlement, sex and age structure, migration, assimilation
AcknowledgmentThe work was performed as part of the implementation of the State Assignment of the Southern Scientific Centre of the Russian Academy of Sciences, state registration of the project No. AAAA-A19-119011190184-2.
Publication date27.09.2021
Number of characters35110
100 rub.
When subscribing to an article or issue, the user can download PDF, evaluate the publication or contact the author. Need to register.

Number of purchasers: 0, views: 785

Readers community rating: votes 0

1. Abkhazia in Figures in 2019. (2020) Sukhumi: Lagvilava A. (In Russ.)

2. All-Union Population Census of 1989. Demoscope-Weekly. URL: (accessed 30.05.2021). (In Russ.)

3. Bruijn B., Chitanava M. (2017) Ageing and Older Persons in Georgia. Tbilisi: NFPA Office in Georgia.

4. Comparative Statistics of the Departure of Russian Citizens Abroad in 2018 and 2019. (2020) Association of Tour Operators. February 13. URL: (accessed 28.05.2021). (In Russ.)

5. Eelens F. (2017) Young People in Georgia. Tbilisi: NFPA Office in Georgia.

6. Hakkert R., Sumbadze N. (2017) Gender Analysis of the 2014 General Population Census Data. Tbilisi: NFPA Office in Georgia.

7. Kamakhia M. (2007) Georgia’s Slavic Population. Tsentral'naya Aziya i Kavkaz [Central Asia and the Caucasus]. No. 4(52): 152–165. (In Russ.)

8. Lashchenova E.A. (2006) “The Russian World” in Armenia. Rossiya i sovremennyj mir [Russia and the Contemporary World]. No. 3(52): 225–231. (In Russ.)

9. Lebedeva N.M. (1995) The New Russian Diaspora: A Socio-psychological Analysis. Moscow: IEA. (In Russ.)

10. Mosaki N.Z. (2018) Georgia's Ethnic Landscape According to the 2014 Census. Etnograficheskoe obozrenie. No. 1: 104–120. (In Russ.) DOI: 10.7868/S0869541518010086

11. Savoskul S.S. (2001) Russian New Abroad: The Choice of Fate. Moscow: Nauka. (In Russ.)

12. Youth of Azerbaijan: Statistical Yearbook. (2020) State Statistical Committee of the Republic of Azerbaijan. Baku.

13. Yunusov A.S. (2001) Ethnic and Migration Processes in post-Soviet Azerbaijan. In: “Migration Issues and Migration Governance Experience in the Multi-ethnic Caucasus Region”: International Conference Proceedings. URL: (accessed 17.05.2021). (In Russ.)

Система Orphus