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A Booming City in the Far North

Demographic and Migration Dynamics of Yakutsk, Russia

Svetlana Sukneva and Marlene Laruelle

Many cities of Russia’s Far North face a massive population decline, with the exception of those based on oil and gas extraction in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous District. Yet, there is one more exception to that trend: the city of Yakutsk, capital of the Sakha (Yakutia) Republic, whose population is booming, having grown from 186,000 in 1989 to 338,000 in 2018, This unique demographic dynamism is founded on the massive exodus of the ethnic Yakut population from rural parts of the republic to the capital city, a process that has reshaped the urban cultural landscape, making Yakutsk a genuine indigenous regional capital, the only one of its kind in the Russian Far North.

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Svetlana A. Sukneva and Anastasiia S. Barashkova

This article presents the particularities of the formation and development of the population in the Russian northeast. It demonstrates that the negative balance of migration and natural growth reduction has become a key reason for the depopulation of the region, and a direct correlation has been established between fertility and mortality and the age structure of the population. The article also shows that the main trends with regard to marriage reflect the trends observed in the course of demographic processes; the deterioration of the marital status among the indigenous peoples of northeastern Russia is attributed to the narrowness of the marriage market.