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Population

 
 
During the Soviet period, natural and geopolitical phenomena shaped the characteristics of Russia's population. In that period, wars, epidemics, famines, and state-sanctioned repression claimed millions of victims. Before the 1950s, each decade brought to the population of the former Russian Republic some form of cataclysmic demographic event: a brutal collectivization process and the famine that ensued in the 1920s and 1930s, the Great Terror of Joseph V. Stalin in the 1930s, and World War II. Although those events ended more than sixty years ago, such disasters have had significant long-term effects. In age-groups above fifty, women greatly outnumber men. 

According to the 2002 Russian census, the Russian population is 145.2 million. Russia is seventh worldwide in terms of total population behind China, India, US, Indonesia, Brazil and Pakistan. 73% of Russian residents, or 73% of the total population lives in cities, while 27% live in rural areas.

Compared to the last census, which was taken in 1989, Russia's total population shrunk by 1.8 million people. Like most developed countries, urbanization - or the process where people move to cities has stopped. Almost 20 percent of the population lives in 13 cities with a population of one million or more: Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Nizhny Novgorod, Yekaterinburg, Samara, Omsk, Kazan, Chelyabinsk, Rostov, Ufa, Volgograd and Perm. The two largest cities - Moscow and Saint Petersburg have a population of 10.4 million and 4.7 million, respectively. Moscow  is one of the world's 20 most populated cities. 

The European regions of Russia occupy only a quarter of the territory of the country, but are inhabited by over 70 percent of the population. This acutely uneven distribution of human resources is a striking feature of Russian geography and population. Despite government attempts to settle people in sparsely populated Asian areas abundant in resources, this imbalance persists. 

Prior to the break-up of the Soviet Union in 1991, major historical internal migration paths were from the western parts of Russia and the Soviet Union to the northern and eastern regions. In contrast to the American experience, Russia has had difficulty in stabilizing the population in newly settled eastern and northern areas of the federation, where the climate and living conditions are harsh. Despite pay and benefit incentives, turnover has continued to hamper the operations of the giant territorial production complexes, especially in the key energy sector.

 

 
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