Latest Russian Population Figures Show Continued Declines

“… I believe that their results are unreliable, not trustworthy. The current census is generally taken out of thin air…”

Recent data regarding Russian population trends are again a cause for concern.  The first excerpt from the independent, pro-business source RBC,analyzes recent population data from the Russian Statistic Agency Rosstat.  The article points out that the “natural” Russian population declined by 1.04 million people during 2021, resulting in a “permanent population” of 145.478 million people.  The article stresses that the decline continued “for the fourth year in a row” for a total decrease of 1.4 million people.  The article quotes a Russian medical official who claims that the “high level of population decline is associated with ‘super-mortality from COVID’—in the form of direct causes or concomitant diseases.”  This article concludes by citing expert officials who assert that “excess mortality… would have a long-term negative impact on the Russian economy.”

Russian population figures have often been a source of contention.  The Russian government conducted a nationwide census in late 2021, and while the official results will not be released until later in 2022, some Russian sources are already beginning to question the validity of the census numbers.  The second excerpt from the moderate and popular Svobodnaya Pressa claims that “the 2021 census is 100% fiction.”  After providing a brief history of how census data has been collected and manipulated in the past, the article quotes a Russian academic who says “the current census is generally taken out of thin air.”  The article includes anecdotal evidence that suggests many Russians did not participate in the recent census.  If there is truth to the quote that “demography is destiny,” then Russia faces an uncertain and potentially challenging future unless it can address its population decline.


Ivan Tkachev, “Естественная убыль населения в России за год превысила 1 млн человек (The natural population decline in Russia for the year exceeded 1 million people),” RBC (independent, pro-business source), 28 January 2022.

The natural population decline in 2021 for the first time in the history of the modern Russian Federation reached 1.04 million people. The last time the indicator approached this level was in 2000. The main reason was the pandemic. As of January 1, 2022, the permanent population of Russia amounted to 145.478 million people, having decreased over the year by almost 693 thousand people (minus 0.5%)…. In general, the decline in the population of Russia is recorded for the fourth year in a row. During this period, the population of the country decreased by 1.4 million people, follows from the data of Rosstat….

A high level of population decline is associated with the “supermortality from COVID” – in the form of direct causes or concomitant diseases, Kalabikhina emphasizes…

Both ACRA and the VEB Institute emphasized that excess mortality (demographic footprint) would have a long-term negative impact on the Russian economy.

Source: Ivan Rybin, “Русский миллиард: Перепись населения обернулась очередной фальшивкой (Russian billion: Population census turned into another fake),” Svobodnaya Pressa (moderate, popular source), 9 February 2022.

… On February 9, 1897, 125 years ago, the first general population census was held in the Russian Empire. Prior to this, the state was limited to administrative and police accounting, that is, it deduced figures practically “from the lantern.” Today, in the 21st century, the authorities of the Russian Federation have returned to the vicious practice of autocracy, no one believes the data of 2021….

… However, what is happening today is even worse….  How many of us at the moment – in fact, it is not clear.  But obviously not 146 million people, the 2021 census is 100% fiction

“I also had complaints about previous censuses, I believe that their results are unreliable, not trustworthy.  The current census is generally taken out of thin air,” said Grigory Yudin, a sociologist and professor at the Moscow Higher School of Social and Economic Sciences.

“We don’t know how many people we have. Serious demographers say that there are actually 90 million of us.  I have two female students who were engaged in the population census in different parts of Moscow.  One counted 6.5 thousand people in her area, and the other – 8.5 thousand.  Where there are 6.5 thousand, they said to write down 10 thousand people, and where there are 8.5 thousand, they ordered to write down 12 thousand.  Thus, in these areas, a population of 30% was attributed.  It seems that this situation was also throughout Russia,” said the famous historian Andrei Fursov back in 2012.

“I conducted a roll call in my social circle, and it is large, and on my FB page, not a single person was revealed who would have seen a live census taker.  Those who answered that they participated in the census did it on their own through the State Services website, including me.  And this, of course, does not correlate in any way with the data announced by the organizers – more than 99% of the population took part in the census…” said political scientist Alexander Kynev.  The author of these lines also has a large social circle, and completely similar data.  No one came to anyone, to his friends, acquaintances, relatives, too….