EDITORIAL: Suicide is Painless


Suicide is Painless

Through early morning fog I see
Visions of the things to be
The pains that are withheld for me
I realize and I can see
That suicide is painless
It brings on many changes
And I can take or leave it if I please.

— “Suicide is Painless”
Music by Johnny Mandel, lyrics by Mike Altman
Theme from the feature film “M*A*S*H”

Since Russia is a nation with less than half the population of the United States (a gap that grows wider every single day), in order for Russia to have more deaths by suicide in a given year the rate of suicide among Russians would have to be more that twice as high as it is among Americans.

And that’s the case. 

Russia’s rate of suicide per 100,000 people is, at 32.2, the third highest on the planet. America’s rate, at just 11 per 100,000, is one-third the Russian level and not in the world’s top 40 worst.

Every year, nearly 60 Russian men in every 100,000 kill themselves.  They may not have much to lose, since the average Russian man doesn’t reach age 60 even when he wants to keep on living. And that 60 only refers to men who end their lives by instant and dramatic means. It doesn’t consider the millions who commit suicide by slower means like alcohol and smoking.

Russian women commit suicide at a much lower rate, but that doesn’t mean they are having a fine old time.  9.8 Russian women kill themselves out of every 100,000 in the population each year, a rate double the American level.  And you probably don’t need a very vivid imagination to understand that living with that army of suicidally unhappy men is no picnic.  As we’ve previously reported, one Russian woman is murdered by her husband ever forty minutes.  So in fact, a suicidal woman doesn’t really have to do do the deed herself; she can just wait and her husband will probably take care of the matter for her in very short order.

Not surprisingly, Russia’s rate of divorce also is a world leader.

7 responses to “EDITORIAL: Suicide is Painless

  1. If you take out South Korea and Guyana, the Soviet Sphere countries make up 8 of the top ten highest suicide rate countries. What does that say about their leadership and their system?

  2. Such a grim image.
    I sense a fatalism emanating from the Russian people, that I never imagined. My belief in freedom and liberty, made me think it would be the magic elixir when Russia adopted democratic principles in the early 90’s.
    There appears a systemic problem, with the form of government being a symptom.

  3. How funny. Russia is #3 in the list?

    Well, #1 in the list is Lithuania. Welcome to EU.

    (And all the data are from 2005 anyway. Aren’t them a bit obsolete?)


    Funny? You find it funny that Russians are killing themselves more than virtually any other nation in the world? You are a sick, perverted maniac.

    2005? If you have more recent data, LINK TO IT, you ridiculous monkey. Think Russians suddenly changed their minds about things the next year? Dimwit.

    In case you forgot, Lithuania was ruled by Russia for decades and victimized by Soviet terror. And #2 is Belarus. As a commenter has already noted, MANY of the top-ten nations are associated with Russia.

    You need to have your head examined. Seriously.

  4. I think I read once – don’t remember where and am too lazy to look it up now, so sue me – that the suicide rate is related to climate rather tightly and is therefore more likely to be higher in countries that are cold and have long almost polar nights – hence Scandinavian countries are so high up on the list. I also think that this is a contributing factor to the overall squalidness of Russian way of life.

  5. It seems to me that combined with the out of control HIV epidemic, Russia is a dying nation. There is no hope.

  6. er…, you are correct:


    Diminished serotonin levels are a big factor in depression and natural light levels effect serotonin. “Seasonal affect disorder” is well documented in psychiatry. Add that to a society where wage earning males are marginalized as in Russia, heavy alcohol abuse(alcohol is a central nervous system depressant) and you’ve going to have higher suicide stats.

  7. I come from Canada which shares a similar climate and geography with Russia. I do not see our suicide levels being any where near Russian levels. It is about 11.3 /100K for 2004.

    A fraction of Canadians do tend to travel and especially to warmer climates in the winter. But many remain.

    Gary Marshall

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