Soviet Demographic Trends and the Ethnic Composition of Draft Age Males, 1980-1995

by Edmund D. Brunner

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Examination of ethnic-demographic trends in the USSR over the past 20 years, projection of trends likely to occur over the next 15 years, and estimation of the numbers and ethnic composition of draft-age males during this period. Demographic trends over the past two decades indicate that ethnic Russians and other Slavic peoples represent steadily declining proportions of the total population of the Soviet Union, whereas non-Russians, particularly Muslim-Turkic peoples, are steadily gaining in relative strength. This demographic shift, which is already being reflected in the military and nonmilitary labor cohort, must concern the Kremlin because of long-standing nationality problems, ethnic antagonisms, and educational and linguistic handicaps characteristic of the USSR's minority peoples. Speculations are made regarding the Kremlin's options in solving USSR labor and military manpower problems.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Note series. The note was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1979 to 1993 that reported other outputs of sponsored research for general distribution.

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