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Feshbach: Russia is Dying

Murray Feshbach of the Wilson Center had a strong article on Russia’s public health crisis in yesterday’s Washington Post. For a firsthand account of an adventure through Russian healthcare, our correspondent Grigory Pasko has more than a few stories.

The Kremlin’s recent military adventures and tough talk are the bluster of the frail, not the swagger of the strong. (…) Something even larger is blocking Russia’s march. Recent decades, most notably since the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991, have seen an appalling deterioration in the health of the Russian population, anchoring Russia not in the forefront of developed countries but among the most backward of nations. This is a tragedy of huge proportions — but not a particularly surprising one, at least to me. I followed population, health and environmental issues in the Soviet Union for decades, and more recently, I have reported on diseases such as the HIV/AIDS epidemic ravaging the Russian population. I’ve visited Russia more than 50 times over the years, so I can say from firsthand experience that this national calamity isn’t happening suddenly. It’s happening inexorably.