This article surveys the population dynamics of twenty-six indigenous small-numbered peoples of the Russian North, using the data from eight General Censuses of Russia (1897-2002), and the Polar Census of 1926/27. The article demonstrates that each of these peoples responded to central state policies in diverse ways, and that often different populations of the same group showed differing trends in different regions. During the Soviet period there was strong assimilative pressure on the indigenous small-numbered peoples. The opposite tendency is evident in the post-Soviet period—a process referred to in this article as "ethnic re-identification."Because there was little inter-regional migration of the indigenous peoples, we conclude that the population dynamics of each nationality in each region is the result of the interplay among fertility, mortality, assimilation, and ethnic re-identification.