The article deals with the data of official statistics of ethnic Ukrainian population in the modern territory of the Russian Federation for the late 19th – early 21st centuries, which indicate a multiple reduction in the number of Ukrainians in Russia, the disappearance of areas of their compact residence. At present, only territories with a large bi-ethnic Russian-Ukrainian population have survived in the Russian Federation, which is primarily due to the change in the identity of the “former” Ukrainians. Most Russian researchers consider the decline in the number of Ukrainians to be a process of natural assimilation. However, studies carried out under the guidance of the author in 2020-2021 in the regions of compact residence of Ukrainians show that among the biethnors the point of view prevails, about the political nature of this assimilation caused by the repressions of the period of Stalin dictatorship, the change in the “status” of Ukrainians after the collapse of the USSR and cultural and educational policy, which does not provide the possibility of learning Ukrainian language and obtaining education, even in places densely populated by Ukrainians. More often, respondents speak about the political reasons for the “rewriting” of Ukrainians into Russians in the regions bordering Ukraine. In the Asian part of the country, opinions about the forced or natural assimilation form two numerically approximately equal groups.
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