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Russia has annexed Crimea, and is making noises about regions of other countries, based on the premise that those regions have a majority population that is ethnic Russian. This makes me wonder, are there regions within Russia that have a majority population that is not ethnic Russian? If this racial/nationalist argument was taken to its extreme, how much territory would Russia stand to lose?

  • Well, as I know there are Dagestan, Chechnya, Ingushetia, Chuvashia and Tuva regions where russians are minority. Aslo, we've got regions where russians and indigenous people population the same as Tatarstan, Mari El, Kalmyk regions. But, Russia even could lose more than that. – Danil Gholtsman Mar 26 '14 at 5:07
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    Here is the visualisation of ethnical division in ethnical regions of Russia, based on 1989 census. It is mostly valid today, except that in North Caucasus republics the share of Russians is close to 0%. Those republics are potential losses for Russia. – Vladimir Lebedev Mar 26 '14 at 5:16
  • important numbers are given here: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tatars. They clearly shows that tatars are living in crimea and elsewhere in russia. feb 26th demonstration finished with fight between russians and tatars: businessinsider.com/protests-hit-crimea-2014-2. only two persons died. if causalities would be bigger it is not clear what would hold the peace in crimea and then elsewhere in russia where tatars are living in large numbers. if that happen russia may disintegrate in few years. do you know how many nukes are stockpiled in russia? – lowtech Mar 26 '14 at 16:33
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    @lowtech Crimean Tatars and Tatarstani Tatars are different peoples, they speak different languages etc. – Anixx Mar 27 '14 at 11:58
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    and is making noises about regions of other countries — do you have some examples? – gerrit Nov 3 '16 at 18:24
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This makes me wonder, are there regions within Russia that have a majority population that is not ethnic Russian?

Answer is yes, according to 2010 Russian Census, there are several smaller or bigger regions where Russian ethnicity is minority.

If this racial/nationalist argument was taken to its extreme, how much territory would Russia stand to lose?

Pretty big territories. Sakha Republic is one massive land of 3103200 sqKm with 958528 of population. But the rest of territories would sum up bigger than Belarus with more inhabitants than Sakha Republic.

Wikipedia is pretty detailed in this topic

And I recommend this map to check out:
enter image description here

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    Also, there are some seprartists movements like Karelian, Ingriyan or in Königsberg – Danil Gholtsman Mar 27 '14 at 14:04
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This is a reasonable question, given the geographic and demographic spread of the largest country in the world. But Russian policy tends to focus on citizenship rather than language and ethnicity. The Russian government gave out passports to large numbers of Ossetians and Akhazians, as well as stationing troops in Transnistria. Significant numbers of people given Russian passports are not generally considered ethnically Russian, but they do politically align with Russia and it provides a useful pretext for invasion.

While the Nazi government in the mid-20th century focused primarily on ethnicity and some sort of natural homeland for a German nation, thus justifying incursions into Danzig, Bohemia, etc., the Russians are focusing more legalistically (or imperialistically?) on citizenship. This is also more grounded in international law (though still basically just a rhetorical fig leaf) and more flexible with regard to ethnicity. Russian expansionism leans more towards nationalism (a nation is a group of people who wished to be governed in concert) rather than ethnicity (people of a common cultural identity). So it may be less divisive for internal non-Russian groups. It also does not clash with the passport-centric view of borders and interests, since their internal minorities are citizens.

  • +1 I also noticed the similarities and differences of Hitler's expansion and Putin's expansion. That would be an interesting discussion how similar are these events. – CsBalazsHungary Mar 27 '14 at 14:53
  • I hesitated to Godwin myself, but I figured bringing it up as contrast is at least a partial exception to Godwin. The problem with discussing Nazis as regards Putin's Russia is that even discussing it brings mental associations of genocide. – NL7 Mar 27 '14 at 15:11
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    I always try to encourage people to think more deeply than associating things automatically to racism, antisemitism etc... the recent happenings definitely have paralell elements to Hitler's actions in the interwar period. The international political actions and backgrounds are similar (lost war (WW1 vs Cold War), lost territories (Treaty of Versailles vs Dissolution of USSR), regaining territories (Munich agreement, vs the current situation in Ukraine)). – CsBalazsHungary Mar 27 '14 at 15:35

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