The Population of the Russian Federation Arctic Zone

The Population of the Russian Federation Arctic Zone

Four million people live in the Arctic, and more than have of them in the polar domains of Russia.

By the beginning of 2013 the number of Russian Arctic constant population was 2331000 people (1,6% of the total population of the Russian Federation).The average population density was– 0,63 people per one square kilometer.

The people of 127 nations live in the Russian Arctic; more than 70% of them identify themselves as “Russians”. The complete list of nations includes the peoples whose historical homeland is situated within the borders of modern Russia and beyond them. The first group embraces such peoples as Mordvins, Udmurts, Tatars, Bashkirs, Chuvashes, the second one– Ukrainians and Byelorussians, Azerbaijanis, Armenians, Moldavians, Romani, Germans, Uzbeks, Tajiks, Georgians, Jews, Lithuanians, Kazakhs and many others. 

This extremely mixed ethnic composition of scarcely populated Russian Arctic territories has been formed due to population migrations including deportations practiced in the Soviet Period from 1920 to 1990. In broader historical perspective formation of Russian Arctic multinational population is the result of ethnic processes and migration waves, passing in the North Eurasia from the most ancient times.


The Arctic Indigenous Peoples

Man began to explore the Arctic 30,000 years ago.  One thousand years ago it was already populated by the ancestors of the peoples inhabiting this region in present times. In ethnography the earliest inhabitants of certain territory or those who lived in it for centuries are conventionally named aboriginal or indigenous population. The Arctic became the cradle for 22 ethnic groups of the peoples who live there today.

In Eurasia these are Russian Pomors, Saami, European and Siberian Nenets, Izhma Komi, Khants (northern group), the Selkups of the Taz River, Enets, Nganasans, Dolgans, Evenks (northern ones), Yakuts (reindeer herders), the Tundra Yukaghirs, Chuvans, Chukchi, Koryaks, the Asian Esquimos, Kereks, the Evens of the Kolyma River Estuary, the Penzhina and Anadyr Rivers and Russian Starozhily – the descendants of Russian Settlers of Siberia in 16-17th century and local population.

In the circumpolar zone of the North America the aboriginal peoples are Inuit, Aleuts and northern Athapascans. 

Nineteen indigenous ethnic groups live in the Arctic zone of the Russian Federation. Most of them are included in the group of The Indigenous Small-Numbered Peoples of the North, Siberia and Far East which is distinguished on the legislative-juridical level and includes 41 ethnic groups.  The Association of the Indigenous Small-Numbered Peoples of the North, Siberia and Far East and the Saami Council are represented in the Arctic Council.