Even though Russians represent less than three percent of the world’s population, one of every six alcohol-related deaths in the world occurs within the borders of the Russian Federation, a figure that means Russia is overrepresented in this category by more than 500 percent.
But as tragic as that figure is, the situation in some parts of the Russian Federation – particularly those with predominantly ethnic Russian populations and in extreme climatic conditions – is far worse than in others, particularly those with predominantly Muslim populations and less extreme weather.
And these often enormous differences in alcohol-related deaths among the regions mean that the share of ethnic Russians in the population will continue to decline and that of the historically Muslim nations continue to rise, almost independent of any other factor or government program.
Those are just some of the findings contained in a new study prepared by the Rating Center for Communication on behalf of the “Sober Russia” Project which rated Russia’s federal subjects by the number of alcohol-related problems their populations’ currently face.
Each region was evaluated in terms of the number of those ill with alcoholism or alcoholic psychoses, the amount of beer sold, mortality from alcohol consumption, and crimes carried out when their perpetrators were drunk. The regions were then ranked on a scale from 100 to 600.
The 20 most “sober regions,” the study found were led by three predominantly Muslim republics, Chechnya, Ingushetia, and Dagestan, followed by Moscow, St. Petersburg and a mix of Muslim and Russian federal subjects. In these places, the amount of alcoholism was lower than average as were sales of vodka and beer and alcohol-related crimes.
The second group of 43 were closer to the average and included mostly predominantly Russian areas. And the third, where conditions were the worse, were in Russian-majority regions in Siberia and the Far East. At the very bottom were Kamchatka, Magadan, the Nenets AO and the Jewish AO. (Despite names, these are both predominantly ethnic Russian.)