Russia embarks on citizen count

A student carries out the Russian census The government nearly cancelled the census because of its cost

Russia has begun taking a census of its people, sending about 650,000 workers out to visit every home in the country.

Population has been declining in Russia for years - though Prime Minister Vladimir Putin announced last year that the trend had been reversed.

Demographers believe there are now about 140 million people in Russia.

The census has been controversial - criticised by the Orthodox Church and the political opposition, and nearly cancelled because of the cost.

But the government resurrected the plan after announcing it had found the money to proceed.

The government says the data will be used for developing social programmes and budget purposes.

But opposition parties say they fear what the government will do with the information. Some have called for a boycott.

The Orthodox Church was infuriated by the absence in the questionnaire of question on faith.

"They are afraid of knowing the state of religion in our society," said Vladimir Vigilyansky, spokesman for the Russian Patriarch.

More on This Story

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More Europe stories



  • Alana Saarinen at pianoMum, Dad and Mum

    The girl with three biological parents

  • Polish and British flags alongside British roadsideWar debt

    Does the UK still feel a sense of obligation towards Poles?

  • Islamic State fighters parade in Raqqa, Syria (30 June 2014)Who backs IS?

    Where Islamic State finds support to become a formidable force

  • Bride and groom-to-be photographed underwaterWetted bliss

    Chinese couples told to smile, but please hold your breath

  • A ship is dismantled for scrap in the port city of Chittagong, BangladeshDangerous work

    Bangladesh's ship breakers face economic challenge

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.