Oleg Artyukov: A census of Russia to be held

The Federation Council has approved the law “On All-Russian population census” on January 16. Thus, a legal base has been created for the organization of a population census in Russia. The necessity of holding a census of the Russian population has appeared a long time ago. Indeed, the exact number of the Russian population is unknown. We often say that the population is reducing, but nobody knows to what extent this is serious. More emotional people would even say that Russia will soon die out, but it is far from being reality. The process connected with the number of Russia’s population can be controlled only when statistics is provided. There is no doubt that the further development of the problem requires exact information, which can only be obtained from a population census.

The Federation Council decreed that information about the demographic, economic, and social states of the population obtained in the population census would be a basis for demographic forecasts, programs designed for social and economic development, and the calculation of macroeconomic forcasts. The government needs the census to reveal what resources will be necessary for the realization of programs in the social sphere, first of all.

The last population census was held in the Soviet Union in 1989. In addition, a so-called test census was twice held in Russia in 1997 and 2000. After these tests, the RF government understood the necessity of an All-Russian population census. 2,9 billion rubles fixed in the budget are to be spent for this purpose.

However, there is a problem that requires special attention. This is the Russian traditional suspicion of any initiatives of the state that concern our private lives. Certainly, the problem was touched upon in the law on the population census. The senators decreed that to obtain more reliable information during the population census, personal information is not to be available for any departments and organizations, migration, fiscal, and judicial services. In addition, the document determines the special necessity of preserving private and family secrets.

NTVRU.com informs that not only governmental departments but also the mass media will be involved in the propagation of the population census. National public TV channels ORT, RTR, NTV, STS and RenTV – will show short films to urge the population to participate in the census. The radio and the press will join the action a bit later. The governmental officials think that this will have an effect on the population.

It is important that the population census is a free-will action and that nobody will force Russians to participate. According to the results of previous populations censuses, there are not less than 10% of such people who are reluctant to provide personal information. Unfortunately, most experts think that it will be extremely difficult to guarantee the confidentiality of the information obtained during the population census. The information may be also distributed on pirated CDs. However, the solution of the problem is important for a successful population census. Therefore, we are now to get ready for census agents to come and ask with whom we live and on what means.

Oleg Artyukov PRAVDA.Ru

Translated by Maria Gousseva

Read the original in Russian: http://www.pravda.ru/main/2002/01/16/35631.html

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