How long is a piece of string? or how large is the population of Moscow? you could equally ask without a conclusive answer.
Despite the best efforts of city planners, demographers and workers on the 2010 census, the most that can be established is that the metropolis is easily the largest in Europe. It is well ahead of London, which is in second place with 7.7 million residents as of 2010, according to British statistics.
The official figure for Moscow currently stands at 11.5 million (an increase from a total of 10.4 million in 2002), but uncharted migration could push the real number to as high as between 13 and 17 million, according to population experts.
The flow of migrants in recent years, legal and otherwise, comes mainly from Russia and the former Soviet republics, with people being drawn by higher salaries and better services and living conditions.
“Everything happens in Moscow, first and foremost in economic life,” said Oleg Pachenkov, deputy head of the Centre for Independent Scientific Research. “We need to change the situation in other regions to move the flow of migrants away from the capital.”
upg: more on Russian demographix