Staunton, Sept. 16 – Russia is on course to suffer 700,000 deaths this year, down from a million last year, Aleksandr Zhelenin says; but in 2021, 300,000 Russians died from the covid pandemic. That means that the number of deaths in Russia, excluding covid, is the same this year as it was last year and in 2020 and at the same high rate as it was in the 1990s.
That means that there is no reason for particular optimism about future mortality rates, something that is especially alarming because the number of births continues to fall, the Rosbalt commentator continues. And that means that the Russian population will continue to fall unless in-migration compensates for the difference (rosbalt.ru/russia/2022/09/16/1974305.html).
Some of these deaths reflect the aging of the population, but many of them reflect lifestyle choices and inadequate health care. And that should be remembered in the face of boosterish claims about great progress on the demographic front between last year and this. The pandemic has eased but not ended, and the underlying pattern of high death rates is unchanged.