Statistics issued by Rosstat and the United Nations show that Russia now consists of 15 to 20 “national disaster zones,” enormous regions larger than many countries and having standards of living which are “similar to the very poorest developing countries,” Yakov Mirkin says.
The Moscow commentator gives as an example the Republic of Tyva. There GDP per capita is 66 percent lower than in Russia as a whole and amounts to 2460 US dollars (in 2015, the last year for which data are available). This puts it alongside Bhutan, Honduras, Nicaragua, Papua New Guinea and other third world countries.
Life expectancy in Tyva is 63.1 years on a par with Kenya, Mauritania, and Papua New Guinea, which rank 149th to 151st among the world’s countries. For Tyvan men, the situation is even worse: Their life expectancy is 58 years, on par with Benin, Burkina Faso, and Togo, Mirkin says.
At the same time, he continues, Tyva ranks fourth among federal subjects in terms of the number of crimes per 100,000 residents, with 2682 annually, “two thirds more than the average for the country.”
And he concludes: “we cannot fail to direct our attention to these ‘national disaster zones.’ They very much need our support to rise” to something closer to the all-Russian figures the Kremlin and its supporters take so much delight in reporting. “The saving of human souls” is at stake.
At the very least, Mirkin says, Russians and others “need to begin to talk about this in public.”
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