- ロシア・東欧研究 (ISSN:13486497)
- vol.2002, no.31, pp.107-122, 2002 (Released:2010-05-31)
It is well acknowledged that Russian Federation's radical economic transition policy, the so-called ‘shock therapy’, caused deep economic depression. In the early 1990's Russia suffered a catastrophic decline in GDP, industrial production, and living standards, which was accompanied by an acute expansion of income disparity and mass involuntary unemployment.The shock therapy, however, caused a greater damage in the social aspects of Russian people. The magnitude of this shock is graver than the phrase ‘painful change’ suggests, which was an expression often used by Russian political leaders. All aspects of society have been affected, including the health care and condition of the population. Above all, the most significant consequence is the rapid decline in number of population and life expectancy, caused by sharp rise of mortality during the early 1990's.What is the main reason for the significant number of premature deaths in Russia for this period? It is generally believed that there are three possible hypotheses: decline in living standard, degeneration of health care system and destruction of the environment. All these hypotheses seem to be plausible. However, it is also clear that there is some evidence to disprove each one of them.This article tries to find the most plausible cause to explain the rapid rise of mortality in Russia during the early 1990's and to reveal the social background of this phenomenon.Many factors appear to be operating simultaneously, including economic and social instability, high rates of tobacco and alcohol consumption, depression, and deterioration of the health care system. Nevertheless, ‘adaptation syndrome’ from the physical and psychological stresses of shock therapy is the most important cause.