Friday, August 4, 2017

Putin’s Health Care Optimization Sends Russian Mortality Rate Higher, Economics Ministry Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, August 4 – Yesterday, a remarkable thing happened. Russia’s economic development ministry explained the rise in mortality rates in Russia by pointing to the consequences of the cutbacks in health care there that have been imposed by what Vladimir Putin euphemistically calls health care “optimization.” 

            To explain the five percent rise instead of the planned decrease in mortality rates among Russians, the ministry in a 105-page report pointed to precisely the changes in Russian health care that have occurred because of the significant cutbacks in funding and closing of facilities Putin has sponsored (

            Specifically, it said that “in connection with the low rates of activity of the primary link of health care in the early diagnosis and treatment … the delayed hospitalization of patients with serious problems … [and] the untimely appeal of the population for medical help, an increase in the category ‘deaths from all causes’ (per 1000 population)” rose from 12.3 to 12.9.

            In calling attention to this, the Newsru agency says that Rosstat had recently released statistics which suggest that the mortality rate will be even higher this year. During the first five months of 2017, 111,800 Russians died, more than twice as many as did in the analogous period of 2016 when 41,600 did (

            The news agency also recalls that in January, Russia’s health ministry said that it was revising its projected mortality rate figures upward and its life expectancy projections downward for the year ahead (, thus directly contradicting Vladimir Putin’s recent upbeat statements.

            And the outlet also notes that the Health Foundation just a few months earlier drew a direction connection between the rise in mortality rates in Russia and reductions in the number of hospitals and hospital beds available to the population, again challenging the Kremlin’s  claims in that regard (

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