Russian Federation IDP Figures Analysis
IDMC estimates that there are at least 25,000 IDPs in the Russian Federation as of December 2014.
This figure includes IDPs who fled both Chechen wars (1994-1996 and 1999-2000), as well as those who fled North Ossetia’s Prigorodny region in 1992 after clashes between ethnic Ingush and Ossetians. The estimate includes:
- 378 people who fled North Osssetia, Chechnya and Ingushetia and were granted “forced migrant” status by the government from 2005 to 2014;
- 15,000 IDPs in Chechnya
- 10,000 IDPs in Ingushetia
IDMC considers that the number of IDPs is likely to be higher for three reasons.
First, the figure may not include a few thousand IDPs who have been able to renew their “forced migrant” status since it was first granted.
Second, the government uses a more restrictive definition of an internally displaced person than the one outlined in the UN Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement. According to its 1995 Law on Forced Migrants, a “forced migrant” is a person displaced between provinces of the Russian Federation. Those displaced within a province of the Russian Federation are not eligible for “forced migrant” status. As a result, government figures do not take into account people displaced within Chechnya and North Ossetia.
Third, in practice many people who fled from Chechnya to another province did not receive “forced migrant” status even though they were eligible according to the Law on Forced Migrants. As a result, government figures do not take into account people displaced to Dagestan, or most ethnic Chechens, who fled from Chechnya during the second conflict.
Fourth, “forced migrant” status expires after five years according to the Law on Forced Migrants. The holder can extend it on an annual basis thereafter, but this has proven difficult for many IDPs due to inconsistent application of the law. Some IDPs have applied to the court to have their status extended, but not all have been successful.