(QHA) -

Results of the population census will be announced earlier than it was originally planned, in December, head of Russia’s statistics authority (Rosstat) Alexander Surinov told TASS on Wednesday.

He praised the good organization of the census, which made it possible to speed up the processing of census papers, noting that preliminary results were very much close to his agency’s expectations.

“Nonetheless, we can see that the number of Crimean residents is slightly less than we expected. Sevastopol’s population however is somewhat bigger than it was believed”- he said.

Surinov headed the Russian delegation to a meeting of experts from statistics authorities of the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa).

Population census in Crimea, as well as all over Russian Federation started Oct 14 and ended Oct 25. This was the first census held in Crimea after its annexation by Russia. The Ukrainian authorities have sent a note of protest to Russia over the censusRussian President Vladimir Putin said earlier in the month that the census was necessary for drawing up a program of development for the Crimean Peninsula.

The census consists of 33 questions, including address, type of housing, family status, income, and ethnic identity.

According to a 2001 census, Crimea's population was 2.34 million, with more than 60 percent identifying themselves as Russian, 24 percent as Ukrainian, and 12.4 percent as Crimean Tatars.