Back in April, Izvestia reported (Russian language link) that Russia’s average life expectancy figure had suddenly stopped rising, hitting the wall just before Russians reached an average life of 70 years. Just the month before, the Washington Post had reported on how Russia continued to grapple with massive forces pressing down on life expectancy, such as smoking and drinking, which in the case of women not only shorten adult lives but lead to shockingly high infant mortality as well.
According to Kremlin data (never entirely trustworthy, to say the least), Russia’s life expectancy stopped falling in 2003 and rose every year until 2012, soaring from just below 65 in 2003 to nearly 70 in 2011. Then it began to slip backwards.
Back in 2008, the United Nations predicted (see pages 30-31) a similar phenomenon for Russia’s similarly rising birth rate. The UN pointed out that Russia’s rising birthrates was a temporary phenomenon due to a happenstance baby boom some years ago, which would peter out and disappear.
And now Izvestia is revealing that Russia is about to be hit with a terrifying double whammy to its population numbers. Mortality will increase just as births are decreasing. Russia’s population, in other words, is headed back into free fall.
The CIA currently places Russia an abysmal #152 when compared to all nations of the world for life expectancy. This cannot be surprising when you understand how dangerous it is to live in Russia, which leads most major nations in statistics ranging from road fatalities to spousal homicide. Drinking and smoking are epidemic problems, as is AIDS. And on many issues, especially AIDS, the government prefers neo-Soviet denial and propaganda to forthright efforts to deal with the problems.
The Izvestia article acknowledges the UN finding that Russia’s birthrate spike is temporary, and it shows that Russia’s birth and mortality figures are virtually identical, meaning that significant population growth is not possible. It admits that no more than 20% of the growth in birthrates could be due to Putin’s policies, with 80% being accounted for by an accidental baby boom that will soon peter out.
Even Russophile propagandist Mark Adomanis is worried, calling the life expectancy reversal “quite alarming” and a “harbinger of serious trouble.” He doesn’t of course, acknowledge that he failed to see this coming after beating the drum defending Putin’s record on demographics for years and egregiously minimizing the UN data showing Putin had nothing to do with raising birthrates, which were entirely temporary. But the mere fact that even the likes of Adomanis acknowledges Russia is on the precipice of demographic implosion, even as it also faces economic stagnation at best, double-dip recession at worst, ought to send chills down the spine of any Russian citizen.