Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on Thursday issued a veiled warning about China’s rising influence in Russia’s resource-rich Far East, saying it was essential to defend the area against “excessive expansion by bordering states”.
Speaking days after Russia’s first deputy defense minister said two new nuclear submarines would be sent to the Pacific Fleet, Medvedev also said it was “important not to allow negative manifestations … including the formation of enclaves made up of foreign citizens.”
His comments, some of the strongest on the subject yet, underlined the Kremlin’s suspicions that a steady influx of Chinese migrants may ultimately pose a threat to Russian hegemony in the remote and sparsely populated territories of Siberia and the Far East.
According to the Joint Operating Environment 2010 (JOE) report issued March 15, 2010 by U.S. Joint Forces Command, there were between 480,000 and 1 million ethnic Chinese in western Siberia, roughly 6 percent to 12 percent of the population. There are 34 million people in all of Siberia.
But Vassily Kashin, a researcher with the Moscow-based Centre for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies, said the Chinese migration issue is “overblown” and that current Russian “estimates put the number of Chinese migrants to Russia at about half a million for the whole country” — not just the region.
Russia has about ten million more women then men, China 30 million more men than women
While few countries in the world have an even gender distribution, Russia experiences a strong female bias, with only 86 men for every 100 women. There are several serious reasons to worry about these numbers. For one thing, many nubile women are not able to find partners, which further threatens the already low fertility rates and may contribute to the growth of “out-of-wedlock” births, abortions, and single parenthood. Another concern focuses on the contrast with China, which has exactly the opposite bias, with over 105 males per 100 females. Given China’s gigantic population, this imbalance translates into more than 34 million surplus males.
According to an article published in the British medical journal The Lancet in 2009, one of the main culprits is vodka: up to 600,000 Russians – mostly male – die from alcohol-related causes every year (although scholars such as Dana A. Glei of Georgetown University suggest that consumption of nonbeverage alcohol, including such substances as mouthwash, aftershave lotion, and alcohol-based fuels, has much more severe health consequences than vodka consumption).
The age at which the female bias comes into play can be estimated more precisely from the population pyramid on the right, derived from the 2002 census data: the difference in numbers between males and females, shown in grey, first shows up at the age of 33 and becomes pronounced from the age 40.
More women in Russia then men
The peak in the female bias in 1959 is due to the devastating Soviet population losses during World War II, currently estimated at 27 million or nearly 14% of the prewar population. These losses, Brainerd shows, disproportionately affected young men, significantly influencing marriages, fertility, and health among both men and women in the postwar period.
Economic migration to Siberia
From – Svetlana Soboleva, Professor and Senior Researcher, the Institute of Economics and Industry, Russian Academy of Sciences, Novosibirsk, Russia via the International Institute for Strategic Studies
Over the past few years there has also been an influx of people migrating of their own volition from China, Korea and Vietnam to Siberia and Russia’s Far East, whether legally or illegally, or on a permanent or temporary basis. Legal immigrants are subject to migration controls, but numbers are increasing every year. They are of three main types: workers from China; students; and traders. Research conducted in the various regions of the Far East and Eastern Siberia, as well as in Khabarovsk and Primorskii krai and the Amur and Irkutsk oblasts, indicates that most Chinese immigrants are businessmen acting independently. A number of them have been hugely successful, although far from all plan to remain in Russia. So far, Chinese migrants have not re-balanced negative population growth in Siberia. There are isolated instances of Chinese becoming naturalised Russians. This is not because they want to, however: they would rather keep their Chinese citizenship, as opposed to settling in Russia permanently. These migrants usually send their children back to China to stay with relatives and do not deny that the only reason they have come to Russia is to earn money. Official data show that there has been an increase in the number of registered marriages between Russians and Chinese. No research, though, has been carried out on this, so it is impossible to say whether the rise in the number of mixed marriages reflects a changing profile of family life in the region or whether these are fictitious marriages entered into by economic migrants seeking to legalise their presence in Russia.
Other Countries fairly large population and More Women than Men
Ukraine has 46 million people and 92 men for every 100 women.