Staunton, November 29 – Statistics, especially statistics released by Moscow or dependent on Russian figures, are anything but the most reliable measure of what is taking place in the Russian Federation. But five such indicators released in the last 48 hours are too disturbing not to be at least mentioned. The five include the following:
· Russia leads all European countries in the number of new HIV/AIDS cases by a factor of two, an indication of the failure of public health efforts in that country and the unwillingness or inability of the Russian authorities to purchase anti-retroviral drugs from abroad, medications that in many places mean that this disease need not be a death sentence (forum-msk.org/material/news/15214043.html).
· On a wide variety of measures of the standard of living, Russians are rapidly falling to the level of many sub-Saharan African countries and are ever further behind the advanced industrial world (finanz.ru/novosti/lichnyye-finansy/rossiya-rukhnula-do-urovnya-afriki-v-reytinge-socialnogo-blagopoluchiya-1027766545).
· The number of Russians who want to emigrate has risen in the last several years from eight percent to 12 percent, a 50 percent increase (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=5BFCF65728457).
· Sixty percent of Russian business leaders say that Western sanctions have hurt the Russian economy, although a smaller share say these restrictions have hurt their own operations. But both numbers undercut Kremlin claims that sanctions haven’t mattered (kasparov.ru/material.php?id=5BFD423A04045).
· The number of scientists and researchers in Russia, in decline since Vladimir Putin came to power, is now falling at an accelerating fate, undercutting any possibility that the country will be able to recover or modernize on its own anytime soon (ehorussia.com/new/node/17426).
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