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The health crisis in the former Soviet Union: A report from the 'post-war' zone


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  • Field, Mark G.
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    Observers of the Soviet health and demographic scene have noted that many of the phenomena (particularly mortality) were unprecedented in 'peace time.' In fact, the Cold War (or Third World War) was 'war time,' although not in the conventional military sense (it was ideological, political and economic warfare). The health crisis in the former Soviet Union is partly the result of that lost conflict by the Soviet side due to its inability to match the West in defense outlays and to provide for the needs of the civilian sector. Health conditions began to deteriorate in the late sixties, and were exacerbated by the collapse of the Soviet Empire in late 1991. These were reflected in increasing mortality and morbidity, decreasing natality, a deteriorating health service, and an environment ruined by the heedless drive toward industrialization and militarization. This resulted in a 'systemic' breakdown of the Soviet system, not only its health care structure. The situation of the former Soviet Union is that of a country that has suffered a humiliating national defeat with all the consequences of a 'post-war' situation, including inflation, anomie and social polarization. The health crisis is likely to get worse, and will not be resolved until a viable political, economic and social order is established. Today's deteriorating health and demographic situation will create 'echo' problems in the decade to come.

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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Social Science & Medicine.

    Volume (Year): 41 (1995)
    Issue (Month): 11 (December)
    Pages: 1469-1478

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:41:y:1995:i:11:p:1469-1478

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    Keywords: U.S.S.R. former Soviet Union health crisis mortality morbidity natality;


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    Cited by:
    1. Brainerd, Elizabeth & Cutler, David, 2005. "Autopsy on an Empire: Understanding Mortality in Russia and the Former Soviet Union," Scholarly Articles 2640589, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    2. Ivaschenko, Oleksiy, 2004. "Longevity in Russia's Regions: Do Poverty and Low Public Health Spending Kill?," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    3. Nataliia Levchuk, 2009. "Alcohol and mortality in Ukraine," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2009-017, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    4. Michael Lokshin & Martin Ravallion, 2008. "Testing for an economic gradient in health status using subjective data," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 17(11), pages 1237-1259.
    5. Lokshin, Michael & Ravallion, Martin, 2005. "Searching for the economic gradient in self-assessed health," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3698, The World Bank.


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