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MINISTER DECLARES VICTORY OVER SEPARATISM. Vladimir Zorin, the government minister responsible for nationalities policy, has said that during the last two years Russia has overcome its greatest threat, "separatism in the legal sphere," "Parlamentskaya gazeta" reported on 5 January. During that period, Russia has succeeded in restoring the priority of federal laws over regional ones and has brought the constitutions of the federation subjects into compliance with the federal constitution. Zorin also said that he is encouraged by the results of the national census conducted in October, which seem to indicate that Russia is emerging from the post-Soviet demographic crisis. According to the census, the mortality rate in many Russian regions has declined and the birth rate has increased. In 1992-95, more than 70 percent of the additions to the population was accounted for by migration, while in 2000, migration accounted for just 8 percent of population increase, with the rest attributable to rising birth rates. Zorin reported that the country's population of 145.1 million people comprises 120 million Russians, 5.5 million Tatars, 4.3 million Ukrainians, 1.8 million Chuvash, 1.3 million Bashkirs, 1.2 million Belarusians, and 1.2 million Mordovins. Chechens are the eight largest ethnic group, followed by Germans, Udmurts, and Mari, although Zorin did not specify the sizes of these groups. VY