Russian President briefed on first census returns

Vladimir Putin held a working meeting with Russian Minister for National Policy Vladimir Zorin and Chairman of the State Statistics Committee Vadim Sokolin. They briefed the president on the conclusion of the first stage of counting the 2002 All-Russian census returns.

"The modern methods of data processing allowed us to accomplish the first stage of calculating census returns within a year, and not three years, as in 1989," Sokolin said.

According to him, the results of the counting give a general idea of what Russia is like, what ethnic groups prevail in it and what problems it is facing.

The second stage gives more detailed information "about federation members, certain towns and settlements," said the head of the State Statistics Committee. The second stage, expected "to find answers to socio-economic questions", is to be accomplished in 2004.

Putin showed interest in major results of the census. Sokolin added that according to the automatic calculations, Russian population makes 145,200,000, placing the Russian Federation to the 7th position in the world.

Sokolin also said Russia was home to seven peoples accounting for over 1 mln people. "Eighty percent of the Russian population are ethnic Russians, followed by Tatars and Ukrainians," he specified.

"The census returns confirmed that Russia is one of the most multi-ethnic states of the world," Minister Zorin noted in turn. Over 160 ethnic groups are living in our country. Twenty-three of them account for over 400,000 people, according to Zorin. The 1989 census showed that this figure was valid for 17 peoples. This gap, the minister explained, is also due to the fact that this time census-takers stuck to the principle of ethnic self-determination. "Since 1989, we have lost not a single ethnic group," he stressed.

According to the chairman of the State Statistics Committee, out of the 145,200,000 people living in Russia, the majority - 142,500,000 - are citizens of the Russian Federation.

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