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More Than 1 Million Russians Refuse To Take Part In Census

A census taker speaks with a man in the village of Chemal in Altai Krai.
MOSCOW -- Russian officials say more than 1 million people refused to take part in the census held in mid-October, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

Aleksandr Surinov, the chief of the Federal Statistics Service, told journalists that people's refusal to talk to census takers was motivated mainly by religious reasons. He said others who rejected taking part in the census wanted to make a social protest, while others mistrust the authorities.

Surinov said preliminary calculations show that there are 143 million people living in Russia. He said the number of people living in Moscow increased considerably, but did not give any further details.

He said the population in Russia's small towns did not change appreciably but decreased in villages and rural areas.

Russia's population peaked at about 148.6 million in 1991 but began a sharp decline in the mid-1990s. The reduction has slowed in recent years due to a rise in immigration, an increased birthrate, and a decline in the mortality rate.

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