Russia’s 147 million citizens are facing desperate health problems, in part because of the nation’s environmental degradation. In an upcoming issue of Policy Review, Harvard demographer Nicholas Eberstadt writes about Russia’s public health crisis, claiming that “No industrialized country has ever before suffered such a severe and prolonged deterioration during peacetime.” In the first half of 1998, Russia’s death rates were 30 percent higher than during the last three years of the Soviet empire, 1989 to 1991. Georgetown University professor Murray Feshbach points out that bad water in Russia causes high rates of dysentery, hepatitis, and cholera, while polluted air, lead emissions, chemical contamination, and radioactivity cause a variety of other health problems.

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