Russian men become extinct

There can be some regions in Russia where there will be no men at all

In 2001, the RF Ministry for Health Care reported the statistics concerning death rate among able-bodied men in Russia. As it turned out, Russian men of this age category die 4 times oftener than women of the same age category. As for other age categories, the death rate among men is also higher than among women. The average life expectancy of Russian men makes up 58-59 years today, which is 14-15 years less than the life expectancy of Russian women or men from developed countries.

Researchers from the Moscow State University state that life expectancy in Russia at the end of the 19th – at the beginning of the 20th centuries was 15-20 years less than life expectancy in Europe. We should give the Soviet power credit for its efforts as a result of which infant mortality and mortality caused by infections reduced before WWII. The positive effect was favorable for men particularly. Indeed, although the number of newborn boys is higher than the number of newborn girls everywhere in the world, but infant mortality among boys is always higher.

Male losses caused by the Great Patriotic War have not been yet calculated precisely. By the mid-1960th, the life expectancy in the Soviet Union reached approximately the same level that in the West (Soviet men lived for 64.5 years on average and European and North American men lived for 66 years). But later the death rate among Soviet able-bodied men considerably increased because of heart diseases, cancer and other injuries. Demographers explain the problem with the poor level of Soviet medicine and ignorance of Soviet men concerning their health. On the other hand, the Soviet Union was one of the first countries that started total clinical examination of workers, students and school pupils for the sake of successful prophylaxis. Later, the system was successfully applied in the West.

Middle-aged and elderly Russian men remember the anti-alcohol campaign (the prohibition) introduced by Mikhail Gorbachev in 1985-1987. The measure resulted in decreasing male mortality. As soon as the prohibition was over, the male mortality started growing again. The male mortality suddenly increased in 1992 and by the year of 1993 it reached the showing of 1 million men. The showing has not yet dropped since that time.

This is interesting that the major male mortality is registered in mono-ethnic regions of Russia. What is more, Russian men die more on their native territories (this concerns not only old but also able-bodied men). The death rate in general is higher in agrarian regions with poor infrastructure. The tendency has recently outlined in several regions of Russia. Does it mean that we may soon have some territories in the center of Russia with no men living there?

The increasing death rate is not only the problem of villages and small settlements; it also concerns small towns with the population of 8-50 thousand people. Lifeless small towns are Russia’s potential future. Fertility is increasing in the biggest cities only, but at the same time we have no statistics as concerning the national structure of newborn generations.

Natality is typical only of rich Siberian regions such as the Tyumen Region and the Khanty-Mansiisk autonomous district and of some Northern Caucasus republics (Dagestan and Ingushetia). Besides Russians, other aboriginal population of this country also dies out (Karelians, Mari and so on). It is a proved fact that migrants from former Soviet republics badly adapt to new conditions and die quicker than Russia's aboriginal population, this particularly concerns men.

Researchers state that the number of able-bodied women is decreasing in remote settlements and towns of the country. Women as a rule migrate from areas where they have no job and wages to parts of the country with better economic conditions. At the same time, men prove to be less mobile from the social point of view and stay close to their parents in their native places. How does it influence the male death rate? These men believe they have only unhappy perspectives and thus take no care of themselves.

Gender researchers say that male mortality is caused by what was traditionally called vices, that is alcoholism, smoking, drug addiction, poor nutrition and absolute neglect of health problems. In other words, Russian men do not care of their future. Experts say this is basically conditioned with Russia's traditional concept of men's role in the society. Russia is a patriarchal country where men as a rule work to support their families. Today, there are many men who do not correspond to the traditional concept and thus get badly adapted in the society. So, when Russia's social and economic conditions radically changed in the early 1990s, the male mortality increased as well.

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Author`s name Olga Savka