A Broken Nation

In his book The Last Man In Russia, Oliver Bullough describes a Russia that is “dying from within”:

Russians have been on a 50-year bender, and not just men: anyone riding the Moscow subway can see well-dressed young women drinking beer from cans on their way to work. And the more Russians drink, the quicker they die and the less they replace themselves.

Russian life expectancy hit a high in the mid-1960s—69 years, the same as in the contemporary West. Since then, Westerners have added about a decade and a half to their average lifespans, while Russian life expectancy for males has shrunk to 63 and Russians of both sexes are five times more likely to die of “external” causes—murder, suicide, drowning, car crashes—than West Europeans. Birth rates cratered along with the Soviet Union; there were 148 million Russians in 1990; now there are 141 million. …

“If you deny people hope and love and friendship, then they sicken and despair,” [Bullough] writes. “They drink themselves to death, and they stop having children.”