Russia’s health minister contradicts Putin: Mortality up not because of longer life spans but because of alcohol and suicides

Carrying a corpse in Russia


Analysis & Opinion, Russia

When Russian health officials reported earlier this summer that mortality rates in Russia had ticked up again, Vladimir Putin said this was because Russians were living longer and thus dying as a result. But yesterday Russia’s health minister said the real causes are excessive consumption of alcohol and a rising tide of suicides.

Putin’s claim did not make much sense to the expert community in Russia or the West, but as with all declarations by the Kremlin leader, it was widely reported and quite likely widely believed by many Russians and others as well. For background on his statement, see Moscow Seeks to Shift Blame to Russia’s Regions for Rising Mortality Rates).

During a visit to Barnaul, Veronika Skvortsova said that “mortality has increased in Russia and this is not because the population is aging. Mortality is rising among young people aged 30 to 45,” and the horrific fact is that autopsies show that 70 percent of them had alcohol in their bloodstreams.

Moreover, the health minister added, “for the first time in recent years, the number of suicides has increased as well.” That too is “a major problem” that must be addressed if the mortality figures are to be improved.

Both the increased consumption of alcohol and the rising tide of suicides among this age group have their roots in the economic crisis and the desperation many Russians feel about the future. But Putin shares part of the blame because his policies have made alcohol more available and social and medical support less so.

Edited by: A. N.

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  • Michel Cloarec

    Here you are ! perfect exemple of logic : made in kremlin !
    Don´t get older , you will die !

  • Rods

    Putin only cares about Putin and staying in power. Russians that are comatose everyday on vodka don’t pose a threat to Putin, so why would he care about their poor outcomes? Brush off the rising mortality rate with a bit of nothing to do with me propaganda that the gullible Russian population seem to fall for hook, line and sinker, every time and then move on to the next propaganda soundbite, job done.

    With the baby producing 20-35 year olds now at a peak and will rapidly decline, along with birth rates and also increasing net emigration, demographics are going to play an increasing role, especially as some ethnic minorities, that are less aligned to the Putin dictatorship, become the majorities.

  • Dagwood Bumstead

    Doesn’t this sound like “Killing me softly”???????

  • Brent

    Putin can’t even tell the truth about mortality in his country. I’m sure this will end up in another stupid “don’t talk about it” law forbidding Russians to acknowledge the increasing death rate.

  • Dirk Smith

    The gay dwarf is a psychologist’s nightmare with his varying mental illnesses; one of them being a pathological liar, which is compounded by megalomania. He needs to be removed sooner than later.