Russians Dying of Hopelessness

Mother Russia’s Ugly Population Stats

The Russian population declined by 7 million (5%) from 1992 to 2009. This is an incredible depopulation bomb – unheard of in peacetime— that is being caused by rising mortality.

Russia has one of the lowest birthrates in the world: 1.61 (compared to 2.01 in the U.S.). UN data from 2010 showed that Russia had the highest abortion rate in the world. And how about a third factor: rising mortality rates. According to the mortality research of Nicholas Eberstadt, the life expectancy of 15-year-old males in Russia is worse than their peers in Somalia and Ethiopia (2006 figures). Truly unimpressive. No wonder Russia is losing population.

What is Killing Them? No Hope!?

Eberstadt found that Russian depopulation occurred three other times in the 20th century: after the Russian Civil War (1917-23), during the murder and starvation of two million in Russia and Ukraine (1933-34), and during WWII when 27 million Russians died.

After ruling out smoking, drinking, health care spending and other factors, Eberstadt wondered what could be the cause of rising mortality in Russia. Without a definitive explanation, he assumes there is a “relationship” between mortality and psychological well-being. A loss of hope and belief in the future.

Gary North agrees with Eberstadt’s assessment: the Russians are dying from a loss of hope. North tied rising mortality rates to a loss of faith in Communist post-millennial eschatology. Post-millennialism is basically a belief in the future, a belief in progress; that the best is yet to come. This eschatology was not a feature of the thousand-year-old Russian Orthodox Church. It was a feature of Communist utopianism. Russian life expectancy has dropped dramatically since the collapse of Communism. By seven years.

“The Soviet Union imposed a new eschatology onto the people of Russia. This new eschatology was intensely postmillennial. It substituted long-term evolutionary progress for the final judgment. It preached a doctrine of judicial theology, but it made the state God. If men believed in the state, meaning the state as run by the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, their lives would improve. If they obeyed the bureaucracy, their lives would improve. All of history was to be understood only by the principles of scientific socialism. The people were told that the principles of scientific socialism guaranteed the expansion of Communist society across the face of the earth. This, in turn, would create a new mankind. Adherence to Marxism, as applied to national politics, would lead to the regeneration of society. This was an article of faith.

This had to do with the religion of revolution. The belief was simple to state: proletarian revolution is inevitable throughout the world, and this revolution, which was inherently sacrificial and bloody, would transform mankind over time. This was taught systematically throughout the entire educational system of the Soviet Union for 70 years.”

The religion of revolution turned out to be a hallow religion for the Russian people. And they have been the special victims of totalitarianism.

Masha Gessen of the New York Review of Books, writes:

In (the book) ‘The Origins of Totalitarianism’ Hannah Arendt argues that totalitarian rule is truly possible only in countries that are large enough to be able to afford depopulation. The Soviet Union proved itself to be just such a country on at least three occasions in the twentieth century—teaching its citizens in the process that their lives are worthless. Is it possible that this knowledge has been passed from generation to generation enough times that most Russians are now born with it and this is why they are born with a Bangladesh-level life expectancy?

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