Russia’s Mortality From Vices On The Decline

Sometimes a single picture is worth a thousand words. This is one.

Though Russia remains a highly dangerous country by developed country standards, it has improved immeasurably in the past decade. Fewer Russians today die from alcohol poisonings, homicides, suicides, and even – despite a near doubling of car ownership rates – transport accidents that they did in the 1990’s to early 2000’s. Indeed, most of these “non-natural deaths” indicators are back to the levels of the late 1980’s, coinciding with Gorbachev’s anti-alcohol campaign.

The importance of this decline shouldn’t be understated. Though they only account for a small proportion of total deaths, they tend to happen at earlier ages and thus have a significant impact on the workforce and overall life expectancy. Furthermore, the fact that the pace of improvements actually speeded up during the crisis indicates that Russia is becoming a “normal country” in the sense that health improvement trends have decoupled from economic fluctuations.


  1. Of course seeing you worship the state, but dislike the masses why do you think this is an improvement? Wouldn’t it be better if there were *less* ungrateful Ivan Ivanovs’ around to complain about the relatively “competent, intelligent, and humane” state functionaries that “serve” them?

    • Of course not. A father of the nation (like Putin) should not be a psychopath, but concerned with the wellbeing of his children.

      These improvements were in large part brought about by the state functionaries you speak of who increased excise taxes on spirits and regulations.

      • Russians as children. How patronizing. And you call yourself a Russophile?

        And no, improvements in mortality associated with alcohol abuse is down to a higher standard of living which makes safe, factory-made alcohol readily accessible to addicts. Vice taxes make things worse in this respect because they diminish ability of alcoholics to satisfy their addiction making it more likely they will be driven to desperation.

        The previously low standard of living was caused by corrupt state functionaries mind you. Functionaries which continue to steal from the people albeit on somewhat diminished scale as compared to the 1990s pinata party.

    • Only bad news is good news about Russia for you. So you bitch like a chihuahua wen confronted with the facts. Where is the anti-alcohol campaign in the last 10 years that can compare to the draconian one under Gorbachev? There isn’t one. Russians are freely steering away from alcohol abuse as their lives improve. This is individual action so why are you barking about the state?

      “Tyrant” Putin released 200,000 people from jails, yet the murder rate dropped. Yeltsin was cramming people into the gulags for stealing a loaf of bread because they were hungry. So the “palpable humanitarian” Yeltsin was the real tyrant. Once again, the murder rate drop in Russia has nothing to do with state coercion (i.e. stuffing more people in jails as in the 1990s). Russia was competing for top spot with the US for the number of prisoners per capita but now it has less than Georgia which is supposed to be some sort of model for reform in Russia. I see freedom in this data, you see oppression. It is self-evident that you are decoupled from reality.

  2. Encouraging development. Thanks for posting

  3. RusFed-o-phile says:

    Found a slightly disturbing piece on ROSSTAT regarding the population breakdown by age:

    Everyone interested in the Russian demographics noticed the remarkable recovery since 2007. The life births for 2010 were almost 1.790k but it seems they counted only 1.662k during the 2010 census. Also the 1-4 yo cohort (born 2006-2009) is smaller than the official data. It seems the numbers are differing by 300k. That can’t neither be explained by child mortality nor emigration losses (both negligible). All the more the 5-9 yo cohort (2001-2005) is accurate at 7.117k (cumulated births slightly more).

    Thoughts would be welcome.