Wednesday, February 27, 2008
In Russia, the catastrophe of shock therapy was unleashed on 2nd January 1992. The shock came in two ways – first, the price explosion (food suddenly cost four times what it used to), and second, the massive public expenditure cut-backs. Inflation did drop – from almost 250% in January 1992 to approximately 30% in December 1992. Progress indeed. By 1995, it was estimated that 80% of Russians had suffered a serious decline in their income. Income from work for families had dropped from being about half of all income at the start of the 1990s to just 39% in 2000. From a mortality rate of 11 per thousand in 1990, the death rate soared to 15 per thousand in 2000, peaking in 1994 at almost 16 per thousand. In fact, in this “unprecedented peace time mortality”, we find an alarming underlying truth about Russian society. Between 1990 and 1999, there were 3,353,000 excess deaths in the whole Russian territory. Male life expectancy fell from 63.5 years in 1991 to 57.6 years in 1994. Female life expectancy fell from 74.3 years in 1991 to 71.2 years in 1994.