Staunton, Dec. 7 – In contrast to most other countries where infections are up but deaths down, more than 4.5 times as many Russians died from the coronavirus in October 2021 than did a year ago, a figure that in part reflects better diagnostics but at the same time represents an indictment of Kremlin healthcare policies and Russian medical system as a whole, Aleksandr Zhelenin says.
As a result of this increase in covid deaths, the Rosbalt commentator says, Russia is on track to see its population decline for the year as a whole by more than a million, far more than in the first covid year and in fact greater than any year since the end of World War II (rosbalt.ru/blogs/2021/12/07/1934490.html).
“It is obvious,” Zhelenin says, “that fault for the present tragic results of the struggle against the pandemic lie on the leadership of the country which, while assuring itself and everyone ese that Russia was ‘coping better than other countries,’ for several months in a row carefully did not take note of the new wave.”
And when it finally could not avoid taking notice, it came up with measures that “did not seriously influence the spread of the disease or the rapid growth in mortality from it,” the Rosbalt commentator says.
“But the most important trend in the demographic situation of this year consists in the fact that the decline in the population of Russia today is occurring not so much as a result of falling birthrates, although they too are declining, but rather because of a sharp increase in mortality rates.”
After declining after 2003, deaths in Russia have risen to almost two million in the first ten months of 2021 alone, a trend that if it continues means that “with a high degree of probability, we will get for the year the highest mortality figures since the end of World War II.” Birthrates also have declined but only slightly.
“The current demographic catastrophe in Russia is the result of a whole range of factors,” including the pandemic, the destruction of the health care system, high inflation, and declining standards of living, Zhelenin says. But Putin and his regime are celebrating the fact that the Russian economy is supposedly booming.
From the Kremlin’s point of view, the pandemic has even helped. It led to the deaths of many pensioners and reduced the number of ill people so that the government could divert money from the population to investment projects. What Putin and company forget to add is that “this growth has been paid for with the lives of Russians.”