Friday, August 26, 2005

Is Russia in irreversible decline? 

Via Drudge, a troubling report out of Russia. The headline is "More abortions than births in Russia," which is discouraging by any standard of meaure, but the article contains other statistics, which if true are not encouraging about the future of the largest country in Europe.

For every 1,000 Russians there are 16 deaths and just 10.6 births, a gap that isn’t being filled by immigrants, leading to a population decline of about 750,000 to 800,000 a year.

Out of every 1,000 Russian newborn babies, more than 12 die before they are one year old, an infant mortality rate five times higher than in Iceland and three to four times higher than in Finland, Sweden, Spain and France, Russia’s Federal Statistics Service reported last week.

The average Russian man now dies at 58.8, the shortest life expectancy in Europe and five years fewer than 15 years ago, the Statistics Service said. Russian women have the fourth-lowest life expectancy in Europe, 72 years, the service said, citing its own data and figures from the World Health Organization and European Union.

This is certainly distressing news.

I do have one peeve with the article, which begins with the following clause: "Russians, whose lives are shorter and poorer than they were under communism..." implying that if only the communists were still running things this terrible state of affairs would not exist, when in reality Russia remains in a downward spiral caused by communism. The current system and state of things in Russia is not the result of some misguided choice to abandon communism, but is what remains after its collapse.

I don't know what the solution is for Russia, but it is not a return to the old system. That door is closed.


By Blogger callmemickey, at Fri Aug 26, 10:47:00 AM:

Yeah, i think it would be irresponsible to argue that the collapse of communism is the source of the decline in public health in russia. I agree communism set in place the structure and we are just now witnessing alot of its negative effects upon society in russia. I think one of the most alarming things in russia is the huge devide between the rich and the poor. And suprisingly captialism and democracy have allowed it to happen. But this is only because crime families and political figures have been given free reign and the public has done nothing to counter these forces.  

By Blogger Dymphna, at Fri Aug 26, 04:28:00 PM:

The new Russia is the old Russia, and the old Russia was a version of the older Russia.

It's a good example of the state-run church, the lack of a middle class (they just don't call the poor 'serfs' anymore), the lack of a rule of law, and rampant alcoholism due to hopelessness.

What exactly is the Russian public supposed to *do*? Using what channels? Where lies their power to aggregate?

The suicide rate in Russia will continue; her best and brightest will leave (got a whole big contingent of them in Richmond VA), and she will implode.  

By Blogger callmemickey, at Fri Aug 26, 06:36:00 PM:

Just to clarify. I didn't intend to blame the common person in Russia for not doing anything to call for change. I just was pointing out that they haven't done anything. And as dymphna suggested.. they don't have any channels to use the power of their numbers.  

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