The All-Russian population census in 2002 will become a unique opportunity to define the national structure of the country's population, said Russian minister of national relations Vladimir Zorin at a press conference on Wednesday.
Today 176 peoples and nations live in Russia and "only the census will allow to find out their number, as there is no nationality column in the passport," he said. The defining of the national structure "will be of great importance for regulating national relations and migration in the country," he believes.
Zorin recalled that the census questionnaire also included the question about mother tongues and stressed that "it will be very important for forming national cultural policy, such as creation of schools, theatres and cultural institutions in national languages." Deputy chairman of the State Statistics Committee Sergei Kolesnikov in his turn pointed out that the census in Chechnya would be held not on October 9-16 as in the rest of the country, but on October 12-13. "The date was set first of all for ensuring safety of census conducting," he said, adding that Chechnya's population was estimated at 600-900 thousand people, and the census would allow to define its number more exactly.