A few reasons to be optimistic about Russia: Economic growth and demographic improvement (Forbes, USA)

Mark Adomanis (Mark Adomanis)

 Photo source:inosmi.ru

Lately, I'm a little more pessimistic with respect to Russia. However, this morning I saw the scattered information that (for the thousandth time) confirmed that this country is — an incredibly complex place, and that attempts to describe it loud statements ("emerging economic power", "country in stagnation and decline") do not help much.

First the good news — about the economy. In short, inflation declined and growth increased. Indeed, economic growth in the last quarter was 5.1%, being the highest in the last three years, and the country is going to ensure to complete the year with a specified rate of increase in a little more than 4%.

Given that the last three years have not been very productive for the Russian economy, these results strongly complicate the story appearing in the media about slomannoystrane in a state of stagnation, which is under threat of collapse. Russia will have to make serious changes in its economic model in order to ensure that such an increase of 4% in the long term? Of course. But, given the objective results now, it seems that the "Putin model" (if there is such a model) is still viable. And remember that, despite the fact that 4% of economic growth is not a record for the world, in an unfavorable atmosphere of stagnation, debt and austerity it is a very good indicator. Or let us say this: there are a lot of countries, including European countries, who are happy to have experienced such a reasonable rate of growth of GDP.

The second good news — in demography: Federal Statistics has just released a summary of the January-September 2011 Key mark reports the birth rate has fallen to 0.8%, mortality has decreased by 6.2% mortality rate among infants has decreased by 5.3%; natural decline in population (whose growth occurred in 2010 in connection with deaths from forest fires) decreased by an impressive 40%, from 206800 to 124700 people.

Personally, my attention was drawn to the information about reducing deaths from "external causes of death" by 8.4% — a death rate from alcohol, suicide, homicide and motor vehicle accidents. No hype — and almost no coverage in the Western media, Russia has made significant changes to the deplorable state of affairs in this area. Let's take a look at the number of Russians, whose death was caused by "external factors" in the period from 2000 to 2010 (figure in 2011 is taken from the source indicated earlier, the data in 2010 — Rosstat, the rest of the data of the annual statistics for 2010).

 Photo source:sdelanounas.ru

2000 — 318'716
2001 — 331'634
2002 — 339'296
2003 — 335'173
2004 — 327'123
2005 — 315'915
2006 — 282'785
2007 — 259'412
2008 — 244'463
2009 — 224'576
2010 — 216'867
2011 — 199'000

If the figure in 2011 — the correct (and I do not see any reason to the contrary), it will mean that for the last ten years, Russia has reached 37 percent reduction in mortality from "external causes". This is quite a significant figure. To be honest, this figure reflects not so much giperkompetentnost Putin as they are really terrible state in which all is when he took over as president. You do not become a lackey of the Kremlin, claiming that the country was plunged into utter chaos. In order to better understand what I'm saying, let us examine two specific types of mortality from "external causes", suicide and murder.

Suicide in 2000: 56,934

2009: 37,570

Murder in 2000: 41,090

2009: 21,371

Russian rate of suicides and homicides in 2011 is significantly higher than those observed in the developed Western countries. Russia can achieve much more progress in addressing these problems, and I sincerely hope that it will be so. But a decade ago, the suicide and homicide was going wild, astounding. Let's put the figure 41,090 in context: in 2008 in the United States, home to about two times more people than in Russia, took place about 16,000 murders. Russia's murder rate remains very high, but in the past it was extraordinary.

Such progress has occurred in reducing off-scale suicide rate in Russia. Perhaps suicide is hard desperation. If, as claimed by The Economist, and others, the Russians recently "lost faith in the future" in connection with the brutal excesses of Putin, why did they kill themselves in so much less time? For the first nine months of 2011, the rate of suicide was 22.4 per 100,000 people. In the world ranking is a very, very high. But in 2000 it was 39.1, and in 1995 reached 41.4 per 100 000 people. How about a society where the suicide rate has decreased by 43% in ten years, we can say that it has lost faith in the future?

I do not want to start a debate about whether "justified" if any of this behavior Putin. The line of action on that front has long been marked, and I have absolutely no desire to continue this. Any debate about "whether you can justify the actions of Putin," similar to the third battle of Ypres all know that the opponent is going to do, but it still ends with a huge bloodbath.
But it is a fact, objective, provable fact that Russia in 2011 is a more healthy, wealthy country, and is a safer place compared to the very recent past. Citizens of the country (fortunately!) Drink too much before his death and kill themselves and each other much less often than before. Any talk of where the Russia-a sincere and interesting debate on this subject already exist, should be based on the recognition that the country has made tremendous progress in several key areas. The debate should be on the topic of how Russia can best continue to progress, rather than on how to start it.

Original publication: A few Reasons for Optimism Regarding Russia — Economic Growth and Demographic Improvement

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