In her article ”The Dying Russians,” author Masha Gessen takes a look at why Russia has such high mortality rates and lower life expectancy than most of Europe. “So why do Russians have so many heart attacks, strokes, fatal injuries, and poisonings?” she writes, noting that according to 2006 figures “overall life expectancy at age fifteen in the Russian Federation appears in fact to be lower than for some of the countries the UN designates to be least developed (as opposed to less developed), among these, Bangladesh, Cambodia, and Yemen.” Gessen goes on to say that research suggests there is a kind of hopelessness in Russian society which makes people feel as though their “ lives are worthless.” Gessen joins us to discuss why so many Russians are dying so early.
(photo: Women sell bottles of cheap vodka outside Kiev railway station in Moscow. Gessen writes that alcohol is one of the early killers of Russians. (AP PHOTO/ Sergei Karpukhin)