Staunton, Apr. 27 – Russia has long been notorious for having one of the largest gender gaps in life expectancy of any country in the world, with Russian women today living on average more than ten years than Russian men. Many experts had expected declining alcohol consumption among men and rising alcohol use among women would change that.
But although those social changes have had some impact, two Putin policies are preventing Russia from closing its enormous gender gap in life expectancy: his cult of masculinity which is only encouraging Russian men to drink more and take less care of their health and his war in Ukraine, scholars say.
Russian men suffer from hypertension at far high rates than Russian women do but are less likely to monitor their health and take medicines that would reduce the impact of the problem. Putin’s cult of masculinity has only made both drinking and neglect of medical monitoring greater (tochno.st/materials/rossiya-strana-pobedivshey-toksichnoy-maskulinnosti-gde-muzhchiny-umirayut-na-10-let-ranshe-chem-zhenshchiny-takogo-razryva-net-pocht;-nigde-v-mire).
That “toxic cult of masculinity” under Putin has had a far greater impact than even the war in Ukraine and its consequences, experts say. The number of deaths of young men there will depress life expectancy of among men overall, but the bigger impact will come when veterans return, engage in criminal activities, or act with little regard for their lives.
Those things will continue to prevent Russia from reducing its current gender gap of more than a decade anytime soon, and they are likely to have a larger and more negative impact the longer Putin is in power and the longer he continues his aggression in Ukraine or elsewhere, the data suggest.