Before the First World War: Reconstruction of the Yekaterinburg City Population in 1913

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The article focuses on the Yekaterinburg city (Urals, Russia) population on the eve of the First World War. We argue that 1897 Census data, which remains the main source for estimating the late Imperial Russia’s urban population, are not relevant for the early 20th century Yekaterinburg. The results of population surveys of 1917-1922 largely affected by the socio-political crisis do not reflect the actual development of the city before entering the First World War. So the numbers of 50-70 thousands traditionally used to estimate Yekaterinburg’s population on the eve of the WWI is a historiographic cliché which should be corrected. Our research bases on critical analyses of the newly discovered and transcribed sources Perepis’ domovladel’tcev (municipal survey of the house owners) run in October 1913 at the request of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and the aggregated data of the Adresnyi stol (residence registration office) of Yekaterinburg collected in November 1912, as well as local statistics and newspapers. Using source analysis, demographic reconstruction, and a historical-comparative method we reconstructed the population of Yekaterinburg in 1912-1913. Our analysis shows that the city’s population exceeded 100 thousand already in 1912, which means that Yekaterinburg was a dynamically developing due to rapid urbanization and became one of the few Russia’ big (over 100000) cities on the eve of the WWI. While our results help better understanding of the pre-revolutionary Urals’ urbanization, it also raises the need to re-evaluate the price of the Revolution 1917 the city paid, for its’ population dropped drastically during the following crises and reached 100 thousand again only in 1926.

About the authors

Dmitry S. Bakharev

Ural Federal University

Author for correspondence.

Postgraduate student, Subdepartment of Archeology and Ethnology, Junior Research Fellow, International Demographic Unit

51, Lenin Ave., Yekaterinburg, 620083, Russia

Elizaveta A. Zabolotnykh

Ural Federal University


Junior Research Fellow, International Demographic Unit

51, Lenin Ave., Yekaterinburg, 620083, Russia


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Copyright (c) 2020 Bakharev D.S., Zabolotnykh E.A.

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