Russia ‘de-Ukrainizing’ population of Crimea, occupation census shows

Post-Crimean Anschluss propaganda merchandise with images of Putin and the Crimea (Image: kasparov.ru)

Post-Crimean Anschluss propaganda merchandise with images of Putin and the Crimea (Image: kasparov.ru) 

2015/04/16 • Analysis & Opinion, Crimea, Russia

The number of people in Crimea identifying as ethnic Ukrainians has fallen by 232,000 between the 2001 census conducted by the Ukrainian government and the 2014 census conducted by the Russian occupation authorities, a decline that has reduced the percentage of ethnic Ukrainians on the peninsula from 24.0 to 15.1 percent.

That contributed both to a decline in the total population of Crimea from 2.4 million to 2.285 million over the same period and to an increase in the ethnic Russian share of the population from 60.4 to 65.3 percent as well, according to data presented by Andrey Illarionov.

In order to understand that these are not natural shifts but the result of what Illarionov calls “the catastrophic factor” of the Russian Anschluss, he presents data on the total numerical and annual percentage changes of these two ethnic groups for the preceding (1989-2001) inter-censal period and those of the most recent one (2001-2014).

In the earlier period, the number of ethnic Russians declined from 1.64 to 1.45 million with annual percentage declines of 1.0 percent while the number of ethnic Ukrainians fell from 626,000 to 457,000 with annual percentage declines of 0.7 percent. But in the latter one, Russians increased by 0.2 percent while Ukrainians fell by even more, 3.9 percent a year.

In the course of the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, “the ethnic composition of the population of Crimea was subjected to significant changes, the Russian analyst continues, the most important of which during that period was “the demographic catastrophe which affected the Crimean Tatars.”

But “the main event of the beginning of the 21st century has become the demographic catastrophe which has affected ethnic Ukrainians in Crimea,” when over the last 15 years they have lost 40 percent of their total and seen their share of the total population of the peninsula fall from 24 to 15 percent.

According to Illarionov, “one can with a high degree of certainty assert that the qualitative changes in the ethnic composition of the population of Crimea took place in the course of the seven or eight months preceded the last census,” that is, “between February 27 and October 14, 2014.”

“The reduction of the population of any ethnic group of such a size over such a short period of time typically is caused by political events of an extraordinary character,” he points out, “by wars, famine, deportation, mass emigration or genocide. With the exception of periods of the civil war and World War II, such rates of reduction in the numbers of the population of this or that demographic as were seen in Crimea in 2014 were not seen in the last century.”

“In this case,” Illarionov says, “the sharp decline in the number of Ukrainians in Crimea was called forth evidently both by the mass departure of Ukrainians from Crimea and the conscious change by some of them of their official ethnic self-identification.”

And to appreciate just how large those two factors are, he suggests, one could compare the number of ethnic Ukrainians in fact with the number of ethnic Ukrainians who would have been in Crimea at the end of 2014 if the same rates of change from the previous inter-censal period had continued.

If that had been the case, there would have been 524,000 ethnic Ukrainians in Crimea, not the 180,000 fewer that the Russian census takers recorded in October 2014. That difference, he concludes, is a useful and appalling measure of “the cost of the Putin adventure for the Ukrainians of Crimea.”

Ethnic Composition of Crimean Population. Sources: FSS, Demoscop (Image: kasparov.ru)

Ethnic Composition of Crimean Population. Sources: FSS, Demoscop (Image: kasparov.ru)

Cumulative Average Growth Rates of Crimean Population. Sources: FSS, Demoscop (Image: kasparov.ru)

Cumulative Average Growth Rates of Crimean Population. Sources: FSS, Demoscop (Image: kasparov.ru)

Edited by: A. N.

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  • disqus_aJpixObjG7

    UKRAINE IS A
    young HERO COUNTRY, FREE, DEMOCRATIC
    PROGRESSIVE VS An evil, nazi russian
    OGRE. Case closed.
    WHO innoculated MOST Western “correspondents” & “journalists” against this GLARING BLATANT SIMPLE TRUTH?

    • disqus_aJpixObjG7

      FACT (not opinion): 78% OF RUSSIAN PARLIAMENT IS NEO NAZI, FASCIST & EXTREME RIGHT NATIONALIST.

      ON THE OTHER HAND, the UKRAINIAN PARLIAMENT IS 0% NEO NAZI simply google
      russian parliament TO GET THIS FACTUAL INFORMATION FROM THE RUSSIAN DUMA ITSELF

    • disqus_aJpixObjG7

      скоро ты погибнешь вместе со всеми твоими нацистскими героями

  • disqus_aJpixObjG7

    Ukraine, whose population (46 million) and size are approximately those of Spain, is a potential dynamic economic power in the making.
    Russia remains what the Soviet Union
    was, a third-world mafia country like Nigeria, but with first-world military technologies.

    Its hunter-gatherer economy — name a Russian consumer good other than vodka
    and caviar you might want — is based on extraction industries (oil,
    gas, minerals). And the fascist ferret putin is moving from imitating mussolini ever closer to an Idi amin dada

    • Guest

      Key word is “Potential”.

  • Wonfu

    Ukraine economy moving forward at a critical moment and will pass Russian economy in ten years says IMF analyst.
    This is excellent news for Ukrainians and will bolster their defense industry and open international markets to further development for Ukrainian manufacturing and agricultural products.
    With the infusion of investment dollars from IMF nations Ukraine can and will achieve economic dominance in Eastern Europe as did Germany thus surpassing Russia’s stagnant and failing economy.

    • Wonfu

      Ha Ha Ha A drowning 3rd world country grasping @ straw.

      Run away Run away. lol

      Without Ukrainian technology Russia will have to use defective slingshots.

      China will occupy Siberia and Kamchatka sooner rather than later. lol

  • disqus_aJpixObjG7

    soon… pffft! you too in Petersburg will be gone along with all the other fascist nazi russian riff raff fighting to create a NEW NORTH KOREA ON A MASSIVE SCALE. You PERSONALLY Mikhail are a criminal because whoever supports mass murder is guilty of mass murder himself. скоро ты погибнешь вместе со всеми твоими нацистскими героями