Paul Goble reports that Vladimir Putin is wiping out Russia’s male population far more effectively than Adolf Hitler ever dreamed of doing:
Extremely high mortality rates among Russian men in prime child-bearing ages, far larger than those in other developed countries and largely the result of alcohol consumption and drug abuse, are undercutting not only Moscow’s efforts to solve the country’s demographic problems by pro-natalist policies but its hopes to modernize the Russian economy.
Over the past few years, the Russian government has sought to boost the country’s birthrate but done little or nothing to cut the super-high mortality rates among Russian men. But now Moscow experts are pointing out that these mortality rates themselves among the working age population are themselves putting a brake on any increase in fertility rates.
Russian birthrates over the last 40 years have fallen to West European levels and are now well below the replacement level of 2.15 children per woman per lifetime. “But if in the West, women do not want to give birth in order to live as they want,” Komsomolskaya Pravda reported recently, “Russian women cry with one voice: ‘there aren’t any men.’”
According the Moscow daily, there are currently a total of 22 million men aged 20to 40, the prime age cohorts for new fathers. “Of these,” however, “about 700,000 are in prison, 2.1 million are registered alcoholics—and how many of those are uncounted,” the paper asks. And there are 2.5 million drug addicts. As result, 5.3 million potential fathers are not really available.
But the situation is even worse, the paper says. The 2002 census found that there are 65,000 more married Russian women than married Russian men, a reflection of the growing preference for unregistered marriages in which women see themselves as married but men do not. Such unions produce fewer children than regular ones.
With fewer children being born and with working age men dying in large numbers, the Russian population is now aging rapidly as a result of the earlier and larger number of births after World War II. At present there are now 15 million more pensioners than young people between the ages of 15 and 24. The average age of Russians has risen from 34 years in 1989 to 38.7 now and is projected by the United Nations to reach 50 by 2050, a figure that would mean that pensioners would make up 55 percent of the population. And that is leading some in Russia to pick up on Western arguments and talk about boosting the retirement age to 65.
But that is not a realistic possibility for Russia. As Yevgeny Gontmakher, the head of the Center of Social Policy of the Moscow Institute of Economics, points out, the health of Russians and especially Russian men at 60 is too poor to expect them to continue in the work place for five more years.
And even more, people at that age are “as a rule,” he says, much less well trained and far less productive than younger people. Consequently, boosting the retirement age as some in the US and Western Europe are urging given the burden of paying for pensions will not work in Russia.
All these constraints suggest that Moscow must focus on bringing down the super-high rates of mortality among working-age Russians and especially among working-age Russian men, something the powers that be there have done relatively little to do not only because it would be costly but because it would require radical changes in behavioral patterns among this age group.
Several reports highlight just how much the excessive consumption of alcohol and the use of illegal drugs are contributing to the super-high mortality rates among working-Russians and especially among working-age men, who live on average 13 years less than Russian women.
According to the latest research, some of which is published in the British medical journal, “The Lancet,” “the extraordinary consumption of alcohol, especially by [Russian] men in the last several years has been responsible for more than half of all deaths of [Russians] aged 15 to 54.” At present, Moscow experts say Russians, “including children and old people,” are consuming 15 to 18 liters of pure alcohol per year, up from 6 liters in 1984 and twice the amount that the World Health Organization says will lead to serious medical and even genetic damage in a population. And given that much of this consumption is concentrated among Russians aged 18 to 55, the actual rate of consumption of that cohort is much higher – some studies have suggested that it may be over 30 liters per year – and hence far more damaging, with experts saying each additional liter over eight cutting life expectancy by 11 months.
Most of the impact of this alcohol consumption – and Russian experts stress that the problem is more about people who drink too much than about genuine alcoholics – is concentrated among men, given that the number of heavy drinkers among Russian males is four times that of the number of such imbibers among women. The negative impact of alcohol is now being exacerbated by the increasing and negative impact of drug use. There are two to 2.5 million drug users in Russia today, most between the ages of18 and 39. Their number is increasing by 220 every day, and the average age of their deaths is 28.
In the face of this crisis, one that puts the future of Russia not only demographically but economically and even politically at risk, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin acknowledged that alcohol consumption was a major problem but suggested only that “Russians should drink less”.
Of all the issues that concern me about Russia, this one probably depresses me the most. It is literally a culture that is killing itself bit by bit. The problem cuts across every economic class in the country.
What I actually fear the most is that when many Russians see these statistics, they will say, “Aha, things were better in the Soviet Union. We need it back!” But don’t tell any of them I said that. :)
Well Howard (and as a side note I doubt very much it’s your real name!), if they want the old USSR back, their wish seems to have been granted. Step by step they really are getting it back. The next logical step will be the revival of the GULAG followed by a more comprehemsive nationalization of industry, it appears.
And judging by the comments posted here by many Russians they are very happy and proud about it as this seems to be a kind of society they want.
RV, the few Russians who come here are of course ‘people with a mission’ — they shout and scream and little else. Most Russians aren’t like that, at least in my personal experience; but then again, frankly speaking, given LR’s ‘strong adjectives’, I don’t think that Russians other than shouters and screamers would come close.
What does the Russian people think now? I’m sure those who support the status quo are very vocal. I’m also sure most people know which answer to give when a pollster comes their way. What they really think… that’s difficult to know. (I guess that’s why Russia finds it so necessary to stamp out any dissenters’ protest march — it doesn’t really know if they’re really as insignificant as the latest polls show.)
Howard, you are right about every economic class in the country as co-conspirators in their own demise. In Venezuela and Iran, it’s the young educated class and the middle class that resists those regimes. In both places the university students have consistently been the loyal opposition and taken risks.
The young apolitical stuff accumulating dolts in Moscow for the most part could care less what Putin does as long as it doesn’t ruin their nightlife, stuff accumulation, travel plans or bar entry into some lackey government or favored industry career track which they’ll bribe or cheat to enter.
The apolitical creative class lives in a hermetically sealed world of their making or they have sold out and self-censor themselves so not to make waves.
Actually both groups are more despicable than some poor burned out sovok pensioner for lack of ideas that approves of Putin as a lesser Stalin.
The ROC partnered up with Putin, so even the church has no moral authority in Russia.
It’s a failed culture by every metric. It’s really time to put an end to the long suffering Russian soul myth and all of their travails as oppressed and face the reality that Russians simply refuse to take responsibility for their society. Putin is only a symptom.
Asehpe, it makes no sense that Russians have to lie to pollsters unless lack of anonymity is a primary issue which it isn’t. I’m not buying that in polls Russians have to lie in large numbers. They sure didn’t hide their admiration for Stalin in a spontaneous tv phone-in poll. Putin’s behavior hasn’t put his poll numbers in the teens as time has passed. Khodorkovsky perverse show trial polls are in Putin’s favor.
Russian dissenters are easy to stamp out because there are so few of them. Or perhaps you haven’t read the LJ sites at how disappointed organizers are.
I wouldn’t ever put the pathetic risk averse Russian opposition in the same league as their counter-parts in Venezuela or Iran who are/have faced the same armed state show of force.
I agree Penny. Theoretically, what Asephe is saying would have made sense, but the facts don’t bear this out. Russians really do approve their repressive government and society. They did vote for their government and approve of it. Perhaps, by their standards it’s not repressive enough
Some of it has to do with economic trends. Mostly because of the price of oil, the pre-crash Putin Era has been a lot better for many Russians than the Yeltsin Era had. That leads a lot of people there to think Democracy is Bad and Tyranny is Good, reinforcing what had already been taught them for centuries under autocratic rule.
Sounds like a correct diagnosis. Still, it’s not very bright of them not to understand cause and effect like that, is it Scott? Particularly since they perpetuate a legend about their somehow superior education.
Well they are Russian.
Yes and no. The problem is that the average person, Russian or otherwise, doesn’t really take as much time to analyze situations as he should, so many decisions are actually based more on emotions and superficial judgments than anything else. When you’re struggling to make ends meet or just make it up to that next rung on the ladder, it’s hard to see the big picture.
Furthermore, Asehpe hit on another big point. Sometimes, it’s safer (or at least seems safer) not to look too closely into something. Remember that there have been many times in Russia where keeping your head down and not getting noticed was the best policy. (The Tall Poppy Syndrome comes into play here.)
Even in freer societies, there’s a temptation not to think too much about things as it tends to burst the comfortable conceptual bubble one builds around oneself. In some ways, this is the core support of the Nationalism which warps the judgment of so many around the world, and Nationalism is a heady drug indeed, if also a dangerous one in the long term.
Well said Scott.
But it does not relieve them of the moral responsiblity.
No – I can’t argue with you there. There’s an old saying – “People get the governments they deserve.”
Penny, RV, I don’t disagree that sufficiently many Russians support their leaders’ policies to make their government legitimate. As far as I can tell, this is true, for the reasons you both pointed out. But I still think there’s more dissent than meets the eye — exactly because dissent comes with a price. Not as big as in the old Soviet times — which is why those who dissent openly can still do so, sort of — but still enough that many might prefer to ‘do nothing’ just in case. I’m sure anonimity is not an issue in the polls, but old habits die hard, and some people may sound more, even much more, pro-Putin than they really are. (Remember also that Russians are often slightly paranoid about who could cause them harm — I might imagine them fearing the pollsters even without any obvious reason for that.)
But all in all, I agree there is a lot of true support for the Russian regime, for all kinds of reasons, ranging from economical success to ‘we like Russia strong and tough’ feelings.
The true support for the Russian regime, for all kinds of reasons: The sadistic rabid brains, in the kremlin, want to hate, torture, kill, enslave, and plunder not only the whole world, but the rooshan citizens also; I see true support for the Russian regime, for all kinds of reasons, from the kremlin.
From the same source:
Russian Military Now Drafting ‘Anyone who Moves,’ Rights Activists Say
“Another special feature of the draft this time around is that many of those taken are immediately sent to the Caucasus, despite promises at various times that draftees would not serve in hot spots.”
I guess either a “surge” to pacify the North Caucasus rebellion or for the overhelming force invasion of Georgia. (Or both.)
Large-scale military drills start in southern Russia
“The exercises, dubbed Caucasus-2009, comprise a series of operational drills with North Caucasus District troops, including South Ossetian and Abkhazian brigades, as well as units of the Black Sea Fleet, the Caspian Flotilla, the Air Force and the Airborne Troops.”
@”Paul Goble reports that Vladimir Putin is wiping out Russia’s male population far more effectively than Adolf Hitler ever dreamed of doing”
Actually he’s not even mentioning “Adolf Hitler” at all.
I think Putin will have to import 50.000 Hmong males from Wisconsin soon. Might be the right thing to do to follow the great American way.
“This will arguably be the third great revolution of America, if we can prove that we literally can live without having a dominant European culture.” – Bill Clinton
At least the number of American males is actually increasing. Hey, wait! Maybe that‘s why there are so many ‘Russian brides’ websites around. It’s part of Putin’s strategy to bring more men to Russia! We thought these brides were going to leave, but actually they’re going to make their men come (no pun intended) to Russia.
Ah well. No demographic growth: yet another accomplishment of communism.
“Wherever people live under the shadow of totalitarian illusions of control — there ones sees a nation betrayed and her potential unfulfilled.” K. Popper, The Open Society and its Enemies.
Rooskie draftees that been “shanghaied” could start becoming difficult. Not like when in a garrison training compound. Officers are often “fragged” during battle. Happens at an inconvenient time. More disgruntled men then officers. Companies of NKVD shooting troops in the back cannot work in today’s Rashan mechanized infantry. My basic training Sergeant from Fort Dix was a real pr!ck and, in Viet Nam he was fragged by his men. Good Riddance! Word got back strangely from the men sent there that I knew.
Busting new recruits is the same. I was a draftee myself, and the reason I went along was because I knew we were fighting Russian style communism, i.e. like when they start murdering hamlet chiefs, teachers, priests etc. When I got out, there was the GI bill for those that wanted it. Now not as good for the Iraq War veterans as the “bennys” go, but still they are volunteering.
Imagine “Nahi” with Putin Tattoos on their chests, when they find out that they have been suckered and it won’t be pretty. What stopped Soviets and Moscals in Afghanistan? Many Soviet Muslims in Central Asia had tribal kinship relationships in both Iran and Afghanistan. A billion Muslims with support from even Chinese Armaments, and others who did not care for the foul tempered mascali and their cohorts.
Possibly this time, Turkey as a Muslim Nation might offer support to Georgia, if it sees a convenient time to “Jump Rasha” and settle old scores on the ground. That would be the end of Moskowschina with peons return to the cities demanding things like the Bolsheviks did.
I’d like it to be strongly fixed in your brains — Yet “Moskowschina” is still capable to make cockroaches the only residents of the USA in 25 minutes all the rest is verbal moralistic trash, totally irrelevant to the reality.
Russians are just mongols with nukes.
It is amazing how inferior their thinking is, but what can you do?
Scum will always be scum, but at least the worlds sewerage is concentrated in Russia.
Did you notice Andrew, every argument they have with us here always includes this threat of nuking us or turning us into cockroaches and the like?
I think I previously mentioned that I vividly remember how Khruschev also threatened to bury us Americans (and I guess, by extension, all other Westerners). That was one of the earliest recollections from my boyhood. Just think, almost 50 years later the rhetorics is the same, and the hatred is the same, and nothing seems to have changed at all. Even though they claim that their Communism is dead and buried. Simply sickening…
Go south of Rio Grande – you are hated everywhere.
rts, not true.
I have been South at least 9 times on vacation in Mexico and the D.R. also some Islands. Honeymooned in CostaRica drove all over it and found lots of American retired ex military living there. I noticed however that the Russians from St Petersburg that I met there, even an FSB officer married to a Ukrainian from Kyiv whom I met at the bar because she even looked Ukrainian. The moscali were not inclined to get out on the “economy” or venture much out of their room. I was going to show them the best Free Snorkeling, but they remained paranoid. In fact all of them did not venture to leave the hotel. This was Cancun of all places, with Americans and lots of Germans. The same thing about Rooskies in Europe. They tend to stay in their rooms and get drunk a lot. They even had to haul a fat Rooskie pig out of the pool at the Ibero Star on Bavaro Beach in the Dominican Republic. Believe it or not I was there when it happened. I was shocked to see it on this site. Here is the link to show you.
And the article is not even discussing another part of the problem: the demise of ethnic Russians in Russia. What is mentioned above – male mortality and low birth rate – is essentially an ethnic Russian problem, and not so much a problem of the other nationalities living in Russia. Nevertheless, these numbers and statistics are always mentioning the Russian (ie. “holding a Russian passport”) population as a whole. If one considers that other nationalities have less problems with alcohol abuse and have a significantly higher birth rate, one can imagine that for ethnic Russians the situation as described in this article is actually much worse. Over a few decades, Russia will look fundamentally different: a country with less people than now, and a country where the cultural dominance of ethnic Russians will be much less evident than it is now. Consider what xenophobic reactions this future society will cause among ethnic Russians, and which counter reactions will come from other nationalities: think of the current Caucasus crisis spreading over the whole of Russia.