In the seventeen years between 1992 and 2009, the Russian population declined by almost seven million people, or nearly 5 percent—a rate of loss unheard of in Europe since World War II. Moreover, much of this appears to be caused by rising mortality. By the mid-1990s, the average St. Petersburg man lived for seven fewer years than he did at the end of the Communist period; in Moscow, the dip was even greater, with death coming nearly eight years sooner.
This is one paragraph from Masha Gessen's story in The New York Review of Books on 'The Dying Russians'. I knew that in the bleak years just after the collapse of the Soviet Union that Russian mortality rates had spiked dramatically - a mix of profound economic dislocation, hopelessness about the future, poor health both driving and being driven by these factors. What I did realize is that this pattern has continued unabated ever since.
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