The Russian Puzzle: Mortality and Ethnicity in a Changing Society, 1994-2004

Saglar Bougdaeva, Yale University

Do populations from ethnic regions cope better with the transition from socialism and subsequent economic decline than populations from Slavic regions in post-communist Russia? Using multivariate and random effects models for the 1994-2004 panel data, this paper examines the ethnic regional variability of post-Soviet mortality crisis in 88 (excluding Chechnya) regions of Russia adjusting for income, urbanization, and crime. The present study demonstrates that after adjusting for confounding effect of population age, populations from republics did not experience a health advantage compared to oblast populations during the post-Soviet transition. The Muslim religious rather than the ethnic factor was a strong determinant of a mortality advantage. Among all populations from Muslim regions, those who lived in the Caucasus experienced better mortality outcomes. Among Muslims who lived in the Caucasus, women appeared to have the most advantageous position in mortality.

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Presented in Session 79: Mortality Trends in More Developed Countries