Population decline of small indigenous groups in Russia continues – Report

According to a report published on Monday by the independent media iStories.

The survey found that more than two-thirds of small indigenous groups in Russia have shrunk in size since the last national census a decade ago.

While Russia’s multinational population includes more than 190 non-Russian ethnic minorities, 47 of them have been given special status due to their small size, collectively making up less than 0.001% of the population and numbering just 83,805. in total.

Groups in this category include the Kereks of Chukotka, a group that currently numbers only 23 people, while the much bigger Nenets in the Russian Arctic and the Evenks in the Yakutia region of Siberia have just under 50,000 inhabitants.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent announcement of mobilization contributed to the decline in the population of these groups. While Russian law normally allows members of indigenous communities to perform civilian rather than military service, this option does not apply during mobilization.

“If war losses affect large ethnic groups for tens of generations and for long periods of time, then for small peoples even the death of a few people is already a great tragedy,” said Dmitry Berezhkov, editor-in-chief of Indigenous Peoples Russia. website and a representative of the Itelmen people, told iStories.

“If there are only 200 people in a nation and two young members die in the war, then two families will cease to exist,” Berezehkov added, telling iStories that more than 100 members of the small indigenous groups of Russia had already died in Russia. war, although the actual number is believed to be much higher.

Alexei Bessudnov, an associate professor of sociology at Britain’s University of Exeter, identified a difference in death rates between different ethnic groups among Russian servicemen in Ukraine. Bessudov found that a soldier from the Republic of Buryatia in the Russian Far East was 100 times more likely to die in war in Ukraine than a soldier from Moscow.

The survey also revealed that indigenous communities in Russia were suffering from international sanctions and the exodus of Western companies from the country. “Indigenous peoples can no longer appeal to international law. And Russian companies do not take their interests into account,” Berezhkov said.

In order to reduce the costs of financing the war in Ukraine, the Russian government cut already weak government support for its indigenous peoples by 10%. according to to the draft federal budget.

“Ethnic activists say that the authorities are deliberately destroying these peoples, conscripting as many as possible into war,” Berezhkov told iStories, adding that “this may be related to the fact that indigenous peoples live in poor places… and they believe the authorities that they can make money from war.”

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