Russia shares borders with 16 countries; it has land borders with Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, China, Mongolia, North Korea and maritime borders with Japan and the USA. Russia is a federal state consisting of 832 "subjects of federation" (like states in the USA or Laender in Germany). There are six different types of subjects of federation: 21 republics, 9 krais, 24 oblasts (cities of federal significance), one autonomous oblast and 4 autonomous okrugs. The population density in Russia is very disparate – 324.7 inhabitants per km² in Moscow and the Moscow oblast as compared with only 3.9 inhabitants per km² in Siberia and the Far East, for example. The European part of the country is home to the largest share of inhabitants. The population is both aging and declining; natural population decline is very high and came to 12.6 million people from 1992 to 2008. Immigration only partly compensates for this population decrease. In the first post-soviet decade Russia had a very high relative index of migration, it occupied the third place in the world during the period of 1989-2002, and was the second biggest immigration country worldwide in 2003-2006.
Background InformationRussian Federation
Official language: Russian
Area: 17.075.400 km2
Population (2009): 141.903.979 (FSSS)
Population density: 8.7 inhabitants per km2
Population growth (2008): -0.07 %
Foreign-born population as percentage of total population (Census 2002): 1.9 % (2.724.327 persons)
Labour force participation rate (2008): 53.4 % (ILO)
Unemployment rate: 7.6 % (2006), 6.6% (2007), 6.2 % (2008)
Ethnic groups (2002): 79.8 % Russians, 19.2% other ethnic groups, 1 % ethnic group not stated (Census)
International migration in Russia is composed of the inflow of immigrants from other countries of the former Soviet Union and an outflow of emigrants into economically more developed countries, such as Israel, the USA, Germany and other EU-member states. Russian academic and political discourses have adopted the term ethnic repatriation to refer to the inflow. Irregular labour migration evolved as a central problem during the ten years from 1996 to 2006. The majority of irregular migrants in Russia are labour migrants from the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS),
Russian migration policy was significantly changed two times. First it became more restrictive in 2001 and then liberalized in 2006. Russian migration policy has also undergone conceptual changes. It was mainly reactive during the first 15 post-Soviet years and has become gradually proactive.