Russia is regarded as the most ethnically diverse country in the
world. According to the results of the 2002 national census there
are about 160 nationalities within the country.
RUSSIA'S ETHNIC REPUBLICS: 1989
Besides the Slavs (Russians, Ukrainians, and Belarusians), who
account for 85.4 percent of Russia's population, three main ethnic
groups and a handful of isolated smaller groups reside within the
Altaic group accounts for 8.1 percent of the country’s population
and includes mainly speakers of Turkic languages widely distributed
in the middle Volga, the southern Ural Mountains, the North
Caucasus, and above the Arctic Circle. The main Altaic peoples in
Russia are the Tatars, Balkars, Bashkirs, Buryats, Chuvash, Dolgans,
Evenks, Kalmyks, Karachay, Kumyks, Nogay, and Yakuts.
Uralic group, consisting of Finnic peoples living in the upper
Volga, the far northwest, and the Urals, accounts for 2.2 percent of
the total population and includes the Karelians, Komi, Mari,
Mordovians, and Udmurts.
Caucasus group contributes 2.1 percent of Russia’s population and is
concentrated along the northern slopes of the Caucasus Mountains.
Its main subgroups are the Adyghs, Chechens, Cherkess, Ingush, and
Kabardins, as well as about thirty Caucasus peoples collectively
classified as Dagestani.
According to the 2002 national census, Russians constituted 80
percent (or 116 million) of the population of the Russian
Federation. The next-largest groups were Tatars (5.56 million).
Other nationalities exceeding one million are the Ukrainians (2.94
million), Bashkirs (1.67 million), Chuvash, Chechens, and Armenians.
A further 23 nationalities have a numerical strength of over
400,000, including Mordovians, Belarusians, Kazakhs, Udmurts,
Russian Germans, and Ossetians.
total of 140,000 assigned themselves to a new nationality -
Cossacks. The first census in Imperial Russia in 1897 categorized
the Cossacks as a social class, rather than an ethnic group.