Russian History



Population: According to United States government estimates, 149,909,089. According to official 1996 Russian statistics, 148,200,000.

Ethnic Groups: According to 1989 census, Russian 81.5 percent, Tatar 3.8 percent, Ukrainian 3.0 percent, Chuvash 1.2 percent, Bashkir 0.9 percent, Belorussian 0.8 percent, Mordovian 0.7 percent, and other 8.1 percent.

Languages: Official language Russian. Approximately 100 others spoken.

Religion: In 1996 about 75 percent of believers in Russia considered themselves Russian Orthodox, 19 percent Muslim, and 7 percent other. Religious activity increased sharply in post-Soviet period, given official government and constitutional sanction.

Education: About 98 percent of population over age fifteen literate. Constitution guarantees right to free preschool, basic general, and secondary vocational education. Basic general education compulsory until age fifteen. In 1995 about 500 postsecondary schools in operation, including forty-two universities. Postsecondary technical and vocational schools now offer comprehensive education. Private schools and universities emerging in mid-1990s.

Health: Health care free of charge in principle, but adequate treatment increasingly depends upon wealth. Doctors poorly paid and poorly trained, and hospitals decrepit. Shortages of nurses, specialized personnel, and medical supplies and equipment persist. National distribution of facilities and medical personnel highly skewed in favor of urban areas, especially politically sensitive cities. About 131 hospital beds per 10,000 population and one doctor for every 275 citizens. 1994 life expectancy 57.3 years for males, 71.1 years for females, having dropped sharply since 1990. Officially reported infant mortality rate 19.9 per 1,000 live births in 1994. Poor quality of water and air in many areas and excessive smoking and alcohol use exacerbate poor health of nation.

Labor Force: About 57 percent of population working age. Work force relatively well-educated but ill-suited for challenges of post-Soviet economy. In 1994 some 37 percent of labor force worked in services, 27.7 percent in industry, 14.9 percent in agriculture, 10.9 percent in construction, and 7.6 percent in transport and communications. More than 16 percent of labor force works for government.