Young male Russians drink, whore and fight themselves to death

This rather frightening article by Nicholas Eberstadt from World Affairs looks into the causes of Russian depopulation and falling life expectancy over the last 50 years or so. Russia is depopulating at a rate only found in really troubled countries in Africa, and the cause is the high mortality, in particular, young men:

According to the U.S. Census Bureau International Data Base for 2007, Russia ranked 164 out of 226 globally in overall life expectancy. Russia is below Bolivia, South America’s poorest (and least healthy) country and lower than Iraq and India, but somewhat higher than Pakistan. For females, the Russian Federation life expectancy will not be as high as in Nicaragua, Morocco, or Egypt. For males, it will be in the same league as that of Cambodia, Ghana, and Eritrea.
In the face of today’s exceptionally elevated mortality levels for Russia’s young adults, it is no wonder that an unspecified proportion of the country’s would-be mothers and fathers respond by opting for fewer offspring than they would otherwise desire. To a degree not generally appreciated, Russia’s current fertility crisis is a consequence of its mortality crisis.

The reason is binge alcoholism (on average, one bottle of vodka per week, according to some experts), HIV, tuberculosis, accidents and violence: "No literate and urban society in the modern world faces a risk of deaths from injuries comparable to the one that Russia experiences." The consequences are dire:

In the contemporary international economy, one additional year of life expectancy at birth is associated with an increase in per capita output of about 8 percent. A decade of lost life expectancy improvement would correspond to the loss of a doubling of per capita income. By this standard, Russia’s economic as well as its demographic future is in jeopardy.

So, how to mitigate this – as the author sees few and recommends no solutions?

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