Russia’s Muslim Future

Mark Steyn has repeatedly drawn attention to Russia’s disastrous demographic trajectory, and this report drawn from Finnish sources supports his contentions.

According to Ashley Mote:

Russia Will be a Muslim Country

A Finnish national newspaper quotes a report from the Ministry of Defence in Helsinki, saying the profound demographic changes since the fall of the Soviet Union are having an increasing influence on Russia’s domestic and foreign policy.

Author Eeva Nikkilä-Kiipula, quotes a government report in the newspaper Aamulehti which claims Muslims are seriously changing the essential character of the Russian population. According to a report, these changes already represent a serious challenge to Russian internal stability and domestic policy.

The last 20 years have seen important demographic changes in Russia. At the beginning of the 1990s, 149 million Russians lived in the country. By 2007 the total was seven million less. Numbers are diminishing by approximately 400,000 per year.

The situation is completely different in areas with a Muslim majority. There the population is growing. Average life-expectancy is considerably higher than in traditional Russian areas. If demographic growth continues in the same way, by 2015 the majority of Russian army conscripts will be Muslims. Five years later 20% of all Russians will be Muslims. By mid-century, a majority of the Russian population will be Muslim.

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Since the fall of the Soviet Union, the self-confidence and identity of Russia’s 20 million Muslims has risen dramatically. In 1991 there were 300 mosques in the country. By 2007 there were over 8000. Most new mosques were built with foreign money, mainly from Saudi Arabia, Iran and Turkey.

The 60 Islamic schools in Russia today educate approximately 50,000 pupils. There was not one Islamic school in 1991.

I have heard anecdotal reports in the last year or so asserting that the “birth-dearth” among ethnic (Christian) Russians is abating due to the influence of governmental child-bearing incentives and an improvement of the country’s standard of living.

Can our Russian readers point us to any statistical sources to counter the gloomy prognosis outlined above?

Hat tip: Fjordman.

18 thoughts on “Russia’s Muslim Future

  1. They could start doing that Charlemagne, you’re right. On the other hand, with the Russian tendency to desire for their country to be feared vs. respected, and with Islam’s ability to draw in people who really yearn for God’s permission to be violent asses, its not entirely clear that Russians will initially oppose their new comrades. (Bear in mind that the western left has already joined up with Muslim advocacy groups who’s ultimate societal aims are far closer to Stalin than Trotsky)

    Additionally, run the demographic numbers again… pretty soon “their” country will be made up of people who are’t “they”. Mass executions may not phase the average Ruskie, but I know what does… something the Russians are all too familiar with.


    And this time “they” might not be on the winning side…

  2. There is no reason why the trend of Islamification of Russia couldn’t change. However, I don’t see the oligarchs doing anything to do that anytime soon. Like I said the last time Russia was discussed here, the oligarchs are more interested in poking the US and Europe than in defending their Far East from being taken over by the Chinese and the rest of the country becoming Muslim.

    Of course, we are assuming that the borders of Russia stay the same so that could make a difference as well.

  3. The Orthodox Church still wields a lot of power with the Kremlin – however for some reason even the Patriarch seems like the kind of guy who’d rather score some points at home keeping out non-Orthodox Christians than welcoming all branches of the faith.

  4. Play with numbers, but the muslims in Russia are a different kind from what we can see in Europe or US.

    Fear Uzbeks or Chechens and start studying the others. Start studying every group extra. Many are nominal muslims and isolated from each other.

    These are short articles (on this) as always, try to bring one article for each of these groups.

    The largest minority are Tatars. Start with them (Kazan). It is too easy to paint some scenario having just plain numbers and nothing else.

  5. Baron, I lost my first comment.

    Charlesmagne: Of course the Russians would not do that. The allmighty America has no interests in the muslim world but oil and “tree-hugging” like policies.
    And still, America is afraid of muslims.
    Russia has more than 500 MILLION muslims right beneeth her, and some already inside her. Muslims Russia has to deal with, always had, and always will. Russia cannot have the luxury of annoying muslims just because Russia borders more muslims than the Russians that live today.
    If Russia would do that, they would have to deal with 1 billion angry muslims ready to invade it.

    Only to suggest Russia would do that is pure stupidity. Which people has Russia “thrown to the Gas chambers”? The Jews? The Chechens? Nice…

    And I bet MY own society is more influenced by islam (~1% muslims) than Russia’s. Muslims in Russia are like the Guinean muslims to the Portuguese back when we had an empire. They were strange folks with lots of women living far away.
    The majority of muslims in Russia live in their respective “fatherlands” away from the “Land of the Rus”.

    Damn!!!! Americans! Muslims to Russians are like the Native Americans to you. Only Native Americans have been more “Westernised”. It can’t even be compared to blacks because the muslims were there before the Russians had come there.

    @FCLC: Russia is a typical empire. Of the colonial sort. Recently the blacks of a French Caribbean Island started to rebbel and attack whites just because. The French authorities – the police and the army – sent personal to restore order in the streets where anarchy was absolute. What was the ctitic of the left?
    “It is shocking to see a 100% white authority to opress an almost 100% black populace again.”

    In Russia it is the same. Recently they showed a report over the Russian local authorities of Astrakhan trying to control the illegal extraction of caviar.
    And guest what? The authorities were almost all ethnic white Russians (like, Christians) and the perpetrators were all non whites Turckic-Mongol muslims.
    Astrakhan will “explode” like Chechnya before Russia is under muslim control exactly because that’s where the muslims are, example, out of “The Land of the Rus”.

  6. War Against The Middle,

    Do you remember our exchange about the Chinese in the Far East? Well, I am still thankfull for your links you send and I went to avriguate more. I don’t know how many Chinese there are in the Far East but I found this forum on Wikipedia interesting. Yeah I know, Wikipedia… but still… it’s the opinions that count.
    What one gets is that there are both reasons to inflate and deflate the number of Chinese in Russia. In the Russian census, the Chinese in the Far East are few.

    And I have to say once more that I have great dificulties to see how in the world Russia’s favourite game is to poke the U.S.A. and Europe…

  7. Official statistics I found is all in Russian, so I could not give a readable source. It is impressive, though: this year birthrate is prognosed to be 25% higher than previous year, which, in turn, was 11% higher than year before past. 44% newborn were the second or more in the family. I have not found any statistics yet about ethnicity or religious background of newborn. But the absolute majority of Muslims in Russia are Tatars, and they do not differ in their reproduction pattern from Slavic population; they do not differ from it in almost anything else, too, being completely assimilated or integrated 300 years ago. All other Muslim minorities are too few in number to significantly influence overall statistics, so you can safely accept it as reflecting ethnically Russian population trends.

  8. About the religious situation in Russia:

    “Based on self-identification data, the population of Russia includes 70.2% of Russian Orthodox Christians, a little more than 1% of Protestants (including 0.3% of Lutherans), a little less than 1% of Roman Catholics and some 0.1% of Old Believers.”

    “About 0.1% of the population are adherents of Buddhism. A Russian census of 2002 found 230 thousand (0.16%) ethnic Jews in the country” The Budhists being mainly an Asiatic Mongol people stuck in between the Caucasus and the Caspian see.

    “4-6% are Muslim.”

    How can 10% of the population in 2010 account to 50% of the people in the military in 2015?? Again, American Patriotism makes some fall into plain anti Russian bashing.

    “The so-called “ethnic approach” is primarily useful when applied towards ethnic religious communities (…). It is based on an assumption that 100% of population of every ethnic minority are adherents of their group’s traditional religion.”


    The Two Big Cities: Moscow 88% Christian East Slavic out of 15 million people.
    Saint Petresburg 88% Christian East Slavic out of 5 million people.

    If you want to find the muslims in Russia you will have to go way to the South, towards the Russian Caucasian Republics where millions of them live.

    Or to the East, to the doors of Europe, along the Volga River. That is where the descendents of the various Turkic and Mongol peoples who invaded Russia settled after being expelled of Russia proper. They are half of the millions in that region. The most numerous of those various groups are the so called Tatars.

    Or where the non European peoples of the Caucasus and Volga converge in a mixture of everything Turkic, Mongol, Caucasian and Semitic, that is, the Western margins of the Caspian sea.

    You can also found a good number of muslims in the Altay Region, bordering Kazakhistan and Mongolia to the North of both.

    And it is in those places that the gross majority of the muslims of Russia live, in their own fatherlands. They were there even before the Russians thought about colonising those places. Therefore, the majority of the muslims in Russia live outside Russia proper> The Land of The Rus.

    In fact, most if not all of this places have a greater degree of autonomy, to such an extent that they are seperate Republics. In a Republic a Nation can live pratically seperated from Russian civilisation, as long as it respects and recognizes the right of ethnic Russians to be there as well and do not conspire against the will of the Russian Nation/State/Empire.

    P.S. The muslims are nowhere near the full 12% of other ethnic minorities in the Moscow and Saint Petresburg. {Nor muslims, nor other non Europeans, that is what makes Russia so consistently European, now imagine just adding Belarus and at least part of Ukraine}

  9. Thank you, madrussian. That was exactly the kind of information I was looking for.

    It will be interesting in a few years to see the statistics for a five-year trend from, say, 2007-2011.

  10. Mad Russian, maybe this might be interesting.

    Look to the bottom six of the fertility rate by ethnic gropus:

    1st Jews {0,16% of the total population} with a fertility of 1,264 children per women.
    2nd Russians {79,8%} 1,446 children per women.
    3rd Ossetians {0,4%} 1,665 per women.
    4th Armenians {0,8%} 1,68 children per women.

    Of these peoples the Jews are… well… Jews, but mostly atheistic. And Russians, Ossetians and Armenians are Orthodox Christians. Continuing the list…

    5th Balkars {0,07%} 1,689 children per women.
    6th Tatars {3,8%} 1,711 children per women. Both Balkars and Tatars are muslims.

    Those were the ethnic groups in the bottom of the fertility ranking.

    Other Christian East Slavic peoples who are somewhat numerous have this fertility rates

    Ukrainians {2%} 1,726 children per women.
    Belarussians {0,6%} 1,765 children per women.



    84% of the Russian population is European. 83% of the Russian population is East Slavic – Russians, Ukrainians and Belarusians. THIS MEANS THAT ROUGHLY 98% OF THE EUROPEAN POPULATION OF RUSSIA IS SHRINKING, WHILE ALL THE OTHER GROUPS, WHICH TOGETHER ACCOUNT FOR 17% OF THE RUSSIAN POPULATION ARE RISING. And in some cases, sharply, I might add, as is the case of the majority of the muslim groups in the Caucasus.

    And Mad Russian, as you have pointed out, the Fertility Rate in Russia is increasing sharply every year, and it is obvious that the ethnic Russian fertility rate is rising as well. Which however may be not enough right now. It is rising mainly for two reasons, because in the 90s it was as lower as it can get and because the government of Putin has given a lot of atention to that problem. If you read the article you will see that some see the rising of the fertility of an European people as a fascist thing.
    But also because a lot of money poured in into Russias high and middle classes, especially so in Moscow which has become a great economical centre.

  11. The only English language source I found:
    Russian policies ignite unprecedented birth rate in 2007 The Economic Times March 21, 2008

  12. Afonso,

    your wikipedia russia is a nonsense.

    for ex. Kazakhs are not “muslims”, they can be anything, some of them are male shamanic married to islamic something. Can you percieve the total nonsense of overall statistics?

    Also Ossetians are not simply Christians, also partly muslims.

    Kazakhs drink vodka first, their islam is a secondary vodka derivation.

  13. Czechmade, statistics are just that, statistics.

    About that idea of yours that only Arabs can be muslims… that is original research.
    Statistics: Kazakhstan is 50% muslim. And about the non muslim population some 30% are ethnic Russians. I do not make this statistics. I can only averiguate if the statistics are viable or not. And to me, they are.

    But anyway, you were the one who considered the demise of the Far East as a “liberation of Russian Women by Chinese men”. I bet we are having some liberation in Western Europe and America and I only pitty you will regret your words when “liberation” arrives in Prague. It must not be too long, unfortunately.

    Also, I spoke of an “ethnic approach”. So, are you saying that the Russian youth will be 50% muslim by 2015?? Do you believe muslims will have the power to do what the average Russian cannot: to influence decisevely the politics of Russia. Come on Czechmade! Even you said that the muslims in Russia are not the same as the muslims in Europe and such.

    I naively believed you were referring to the fact that muslims in Russia are in their own “fatherlands” instead of colonising people around and, with the exception of Chechnya and one or two sublevations against ethnic Russians in Tatarstan or the Altay region those muslims are very pacific, mainly because they are indeed simple subjects of the Russian Empire and have the right and freedom to exercise their Traditional practices.
    And for those of are thinking of sharia and stuff, keep in mind that it only gets too bloody when the muslims are facing and with the upper hand over an infidel population. Otherwise it is extremely rare for sharia to get bloody due to its overwhelming dissuasive power. As Takuan Seyo says, to some people islam actually works. To whom? I say to those peoples who have embraced islam for a long time so that it is an undeniable part of their culture.

    But for you Czechmade, Islam is only typical of some monkeys of the desert, aka Arabs, to such an extent that black Africans are not really muslims, Kazakhs are not really muslims, Ossetians are not really Christians nor Europeans (but Georgians are, how come?) and, the most ridicule, Berbers are not really muslims and want to get ridd of Arab supermacism, which for you is islam.

    What’s the sense of that??

    I present you statistics and a somewhat rational thought and you come and say it makes no sense because Kazakhs are not a purely Semnitic people. Guess what, Kazakhs are not Semitic, they had a very different culture from the Middle Eastern one and when they converted en mass (without much bloodshed) they adopted Islam to their already existant culture. Nowadays, Kazakhs are a Turco-Mongol islamic people. That’s their culture.
    What is nonesense after all, Czechmade?

    “your wikipedia russia is a nonsense.”

  14. I give you an example – to make it short – the regime change in Czechoslovakia was not decided by communists or non-communists but by grey materia you are free to describe as communists or somewhat not really communist. Looking at statistics you would find the number of CP members. I assure you this number were real members, but not many were real communists, some were even fierce anticommunists.

    What I say – study the grey materia and make regular checks on the ground. The grey materia can change any time. It can be surprizingly dull or rational. Coward or courageous.

    Marginal as the imperial thinking goes for us or those “muslims”. So are those muslim people in Russia. They were always third rate in Russian or islamic empire. So what. They are not going to follow Saudis, Pakis, Turks, Iranian mullahs etc. They prefer compromising or being left alone.

    And Russians are ready to brutalize them any time in quite an islamic way, the West will look away, the real muslims as well. And they know it well in Russia or around.

    Being third rate, they can be quite free and open and mix with anyone.

  15. You know more about islam than most Kazakhs do for ex. And in muslim world they call them quasiRussians with disdain.

    Also the Turks are no more really welcome in the region. The Turkish miniimperial dream – an alternative to EU – with Turks leading their “brothers” is over.

  16. Czechmade, I do not understand how your first comment apply as an answer.

    “The Turkish miniimperial dream (…) is over.”

    Yes, and why is that? Because the Russians have mannaged to somewhat control that dictators of Central Asia. (And China, India and the U.S. have shown interest in the region) Meanwhile, islamism keeps growing in central Asia as well as in Turkey.

    “And in muslim world they call them quasiRussians with disdain.”

    As I see it, the most dangerous forces in Russia are not the Communists who will not grab power there for some time now, but the Eurasianists, those anti-European ones who desire a merging between the East Slavic and Turkish world and that do not mind of a Chinese Far East as well. This ones are the dangerous ones, the ones who are there to seriously attack Europe, America and by the way Russia.
    We have the same here. They are called Minho-Timorese Nationalists. To them, Galiza is purely Spanish while all Brazil, half of Africa and even Timor should merge with Portugal. These are the ones who champion for third world immigration to Europe.

    “They are not going to follow Saudis, Pakis, Turks, Iranian mullahs etc. They prefer compromising or being left alone.”

    The same was said about the muslims in the Balkans not long ago.

    P.S. – In the end, while we diverge imensly over Russia, I think we have pretty much the same opinion in regard to the muslims of Russia. Mine is simple: As long as they are in their “fatherlands”, away from “The Land of the Rus” its okay.

  17. Afonso,

    The problem is that neither of us will have an idea on the true number of Chinese in the Russian Far East unless we plan going to the Russian Far East for at least 8 months studying this problem. Regardless, the trend is the Chinese are coming into the RFE, and everyone else (except the native Siberians) is leaving. The whole debate on the exact number of Chinese in the RFE ignores the second half of this problem. Even if the number of Chinese in the RFE was constant as a percentage they would increase since everyone else is leaving. The problem is really worse since the number of Chinese goes up and the number of everyone else goes down.

    Also, many Chinese consider the RFE to be stolen territory and want it back. It used to be known as Outer Manchuria after all.

    Of course, this is the current trend with the RFE. Trends do not go on forever, but anyone who has the power to do something about the situation in the RFE doesn’t want to do anything about it since if they did they already would have. Regardless, this could change in the future. Of course, it could also change for the worse since China is on the verge of major problems so many Chinese may flood into the RFE as refugees or the Chinese government may use an invasion of the RFE to take the minds of their people off their soon to be much worse economic problems.

    I don’t understand the reasoning of why the oligarchs have decided to go after the US and Europe instead of Russia’s real problems either. However, this is what it looks like they are doing. Russia’s real problems are its increasing population of Muslims, Chinese, and its population implosion. Instead of taking steps to combat these problems, the oligarchs have:

    1. Let the Chinese come in without much trouble
    2. Started a war over meaningless specks of territory (an action which can be used against them by small Muslim ethnic groups in Russia to seceede, and by the Chinese to annex the RFE)
    3. Aided Iran in getting nuclear weapons. For that matter aiding Iran with anything. (In general, the oligarchs support Muslims as long as
    4. Screwed around with natural gas shipments to Europe

    Instead what the oligarchs should be doing at a minimum is not aiding Iran and working with the US to deal with Iran, tighten the border with China, not play games with natural gas to Europe, and encourage Russians living to move back into Russia (i.e. give them passports, bribe them to move, etc.)

    What the oligarchs are doing will backfire on them big time. They aren’t just shooting themselves in the foot, they are about to blow off Russia’s leg. Like I said, I don’t understand why they are doing this. I can see so clearly what is happening. They should be able to as well.

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