Russians in the Central Asia Countries: Post-Soviet Geodemographic Trends

 
PIIS013216250019640-7-1
DOI10.31857/S013216250019640-7
Publication type Article
Status Published
Authors
Occupation: Chief researcher
Affiliation: FIC Southern Scientific Center, Russian Academy of Sciences
Address: Rostov-on-Don, Russian Federation, Rostov-on-Don
Journal nameSotsiologicheskie issledovaniya
EditionIssue 8
Pages27-46
Abstract

The process of ethnocultural retreat of Russians from Central Asia, recorded already in the 1970s and 1980s, accelerated sharply in the post-Soviet period. From 1989 to 2020, the Russian population of the region decreased from 3.29 million to 0.93–1.04 million people. Its most intensive depopulation occurred in the 1990s (-41–43.5%). Аfterwards, the rate of decline decreases: in the 2000s it was equal to 35–36.5%, in the 2010s – 18–21%. In the 1990–2000s, the vast majority of the demographic losses of Russians (85–95%) in all countries of the region was associated with emigration, primarily with the outflow to Russia. The depopulation was accompanied by a gradual deformation of the age and sex structure, primarily by an increase in the proportion of women, who currently account for 55–60% of Russians in all countries of Central Asia. This disproportion, along with the reduction in the female group in reproductive age, is the main reason for a gradual increase in natural decline, which has become the main factor in the depopulation of Russians in the region in the last 5–10 years. In all countries of the region, Russians (through interethnic marriages) actively assimilated Russian-speaking communities. But at present, this demographic replenishment resource is almost exhausted. The main geodemographic trend of the post-Soviet period was gradual narrowing of the geography of the Russian population.

Primarily, Russians left remote rural areas and small centers. Currently, 50–60% of Russians live in the capitals of their countries. A significant group of rural Russians remains only in Kyrgyzstan, primarily in the vicinity of Bishkek (Chuy region). The few rural Russians in other Central Asian countries Asia also spatially gravitate towards the capitals. There was a certain "re-centering" of the Russian masses in the region. The share of Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan has increased, while the weight of Tajikistan has significantly decreased, retaining only 6–7% of its Russian population. Already in 2030–2035, about 50% of Russians in the region may live in Tashkent and Bishkek.

KeywordsCentral Asia, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Russian population, geodemographic dynamics, form of settlement, age and sex structure, emigration, assimilation
AcknowledgmentThe work was performed as part of the State Assignment of the Russian Academy of Sciences Southern Scientific Centre, state registration of the project No. 122020100349-6.
Received09.04.2022
Publication date26.09.2022
Number of characters48663
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