NEWSWATCH: “Russian answer to opioid epidemic: ‘Cold turkey’; Russia has an opioid abuse problem as big as America’s, but a very different way of dealing with it. No methadone replacement therapy in Moscow – just a couple of aspirin and a short, sharp withdrawal shock.” – Christian Science Monitor/ Fred Weir

Blurred Image of Young Woman Holding Up Pill Between Her Thumb and Index Finger, adapted from image at drugabuse.gov

“Russia has an opioid addiction crisis about as grave as America’s. … the two countries’ approaches to the problem could hardly be more different. … most US and European clinics offer patients methadone as replacement therapy [yet] Russian doctors disdain such ‘soft’ treatment. … their [cold turkey] methods … have a lower success rate than the 50 percent achieved in the United States. … […]

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Looming Demographic Collapse Now ‘Main Threat to Russian National Security,’ Health Expert Says

File Photo of Crowd of Russians with One Waving Russian Flag

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, November 14, 2017) The situation with regard to Russia’s birthrate is much worse than officials say, Igor Gundarov says. It is not easily correctible as some think but rather reflects a “cascading demographic” decline that now represents the main threat to the national security” of the country. The specialist on health care […]

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NEWSLINK: “Russian health officials want an all-out war against smoking in public (and other places)” – Meduza

No Smoking Symbol

“Russian Health Ministry officials want to expand dramatically the list of places where smoking is prohibited. … [to] include … communal apartments, within 10 feet of public transportation stops … underground and overground walkways, within 10 feet of shopping malls … in private vehicles in the presence of children … ‘in the presence of anyone who objects to the consumption […]

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More Than 16 Million Russians Are Breathing Polluted Air

File Photo of Smokestacking Spewing Cloud of Discharge

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – September 21, 2017) More than 16 million residents of Russia’s largest cities are breathing polluted air, an annual Natural Resources and Environment Ministry report cited by the Kommersant daily on Thursday suggests. Russia’s fledgling post-Soviet environmental protection movement has been hampered in recent years by corruption, lax enforcement of laws and a crackdown on advocacy […]

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NEWSLINK: “Russian life expectancy reaches a record 72.5 years” – bne Intellinews/

Medical Symbol with Pole, Serpents, Wings, adapted from image at lanl.gov

“The average life expectancy of Russians reached 72.5 years for the first time in history … according to Rosstat … men’s life expectancy increased by a year from 66.5 to 67.5 years and for women it was 77.4 years. During the worst of the economic crisis that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union in the 1990s, male life expectancy fell to […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Ukraine’s TB problem is ticking time bomb for Europe; Controlling the airborne disease takes on additional urgency this year as the country seeks to integrate into EU with a new visa-free regime” – Politico/ LILY HYDE

Medical Symbol with Pole, Serpents, Wings, adapted from image at lanl.gov

“… Odessa has the highest rate of TB in Ukraine, with 110 cases per 100,000 people in 2016, and rising fast. Closely linked with migration, instability and poverty, controlling this airborne disease takes on additional urgency this year as Ukraine seeks to integrate into Europe thanks to a new visa-free regime. Part of a migration corridor from Central Asia and […]

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Life Expectancy in Russia Reaches 72 Years for First Time

Medical Symbol with Pole, Serpents, Wings, adapted from image at lanl.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – August 15, 2017) The average life expectancy in Russia has for the first time exceeded 72 years, deputy prime minister Olga Golodets said on Monday. According to data from the federal statistics agency Rosstat, the average life expectancy reached 72.4 in the first half year of 2017, she was cited as saying by the state-run […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin] Meeting with Government members

Medical Symbol with Pole, Serpents, Wings, adapted from image at lanl.gov

(Kremlin.ru – July 19, 2017) Vladimir Putin held a meeting with Government members. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon colleagues. Today, we will discuss an issue of great importance for practically every Russian family – how we can use information technology to improve access to medical care and medicines. But first, I would like to ask Mr Manturov to […]

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Bad Weather Blamed for Moscow’s Summer Sadness

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – July 6, 2017) An unusually cold summer is partially responsible for a spike in Muscovites calling in for psychological help, RT reported, citing the director of the Moscow Psychological Aid Service Nina Petrochenko. The service received a total of 3,870 queries in June 2017, a 14 percent increase compared to the same month in 2016. […]

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‘Putin’s GULAG More Horrible than Stalin’s,’ Researchers Say

File Photo of Prison in Russia with Wall, Barbed Wire, Guard Tower

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, May 7, 2017) Many people of good will around the world have been horrified by the case of Rizvan Ibragimov who has been subject to electro-shocks and other forms of torture for writing a history of Chechnya challenging the version approved by Ramzan Kadyrov, but they have dismissed such crimes as “Chechnya […]

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Russian Opposition Leader Navalny Lands in Barcelona for Treatment

Medical Symbol with Pole, Serpents, Wings, adapted from image at lanl.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – May 8, 2017) Russian opposition leader and presidential candidate Alexei Navalny landed in Barcelona Sunday to receive medical treatment, the Moskovsky Komsomolets newspaper reported, citing unidentified sources. On May 4, Navalny said he had received a passport for foreign travel. But his lawyer later Tweeted that a probation officer had informed Navalny that he shouldn’t […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Kremlin Critic Navalny Says Russia Stops Him Traveling Abroad” – Reuters

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

“Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny said … authorities in Russia were stopping him [from] going abroad to seek urgent medical treatment after an attack that left him mostly blind in one eye.  … authorities … unexpectedly issued … an international passport … [giving] the impression he could fly to a foreign clinic to get treatment …. But he said a senior official from the country’s prison […]

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Russia Gives Putin Critic Navalny Passport to Travel Abroad

Alexei Navalny file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Ilya Arkhipov – May 4, 2017) #Russian opposition leader Alexey #Navalny said he’s been issued with a passport that would allow him to seek treatment abroad for eye damage suffered when an assailant threw a chemical in his face. The Federal Migration Service notified him that he can collect the passport after a five-year struggle to […]

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Interfax: Russians have started smoking less, dying of alcohol poisoning less – government report

MOSCOW. April 20 (Interfax) – Russians have become less prone to bad habits. According to the materials prepared for the annual government report in the State Duma, thirty-one percent of the country’s adults said they smoked in 2016, against 41% in 2010. The data was provided citing the All-Russian Public Opinion Research Center. Alcohol consumption has decreased from 14.3 liters […]

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RUSSIALINK RBTH: “Be fertile and multiply: How to spur a baby boom, a la Russe?”

Couple in Hospital with Newborn

After an upswing from 2005 to 2015, Russia’s birth rate is once again declining. Meanwhile, mortality continues to grow, and the government needs innovative ideas and reforms to rectify the situation. Proposed measures, however, primarily benefit women and ignore the interests of men. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – YEKATERINA SINELSCHIKOVA, RBTH – April 21, 2017) Russia’s Education and […]

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RUSSIALINK RBTH: “Do Russians really drink as much as people think they do?”

Man in Silhoette with Bottle of Alcohol and Head in Hand

“How is vodka…” “Why did Putin…” RBTH has chosen some of the most popular search queries related to Russia and will answer each question in detail in a series of articles titled “Why Russia.” Today, we examine how Russia has earned its reputation as a country that loves to drink. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – OLEG YEGOROV, RBTH […]

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RUSSIALINK RBTH/Gazeta.ru: “Live longer! Putin calls for improving life expectancy. Russia’s leader hopes that by 2025 average life expectancy will reach 76 years. To achieve this target, authorities must combat not only alcoholism and drug addiction, but also reduce the number of road accident deaths.”

Man in Silhoette with Bottle of Alcohol and Head in Hand

“Russia’s leader hopes that by 2025 average life expectancy will reach 76 years. To achieve this target, authorities must combat not only alcoholism and drug addiction, but also reduce the number of road accident deaths. …”

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Council for Strategic Development and Priority Projects meeting

Kremlin and River

(Kremlin.ru – March 21, 2017) Vladimir Putin chaired a meeting of the Presidential Council for Strategic Development and Priority Projects at the Kremlin. Participants in the meeting reviewed progress in the implementation of priority projects in healthcare, as well as measures aimed at enhancing labour efficiency. Transcript of the meeting of the Council for Strategic Development and Priority Projects President […]

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RUSSIALINK RBTH: “What do Russians dream about when they sleep?”

File Photo of Dogs Dressed as Batman and Robin, adapted from photo at whitehouse.gov

Most Russians dream about people, fish, children and snakes, claims a Yandex study based on the analysis of search queries. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – IGOR ROZIN, RBTH – March 20, 2017) A study conducted by the leading Russian search engine, Yandex, shows what Russians most frequently see in their dreams. The results are based on search queries […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin] Meeting with Government members

Kremlin and River

(Kremlin.ru – March 14, 2017) Vladimir Putin held a meeting with Government members in the Kremlin. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues, We will begin with s number of current issues. The epidemic level seems to be on the decline, but the situation is still serious. Even Mr Medvedev could not stay out of harm’s way, and caught […]

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Kicking habits, kicking back; In Russia, a punitive Soviet approach to drug users is still in place. But a new generation of activists is ready to challenge it.

Russian Drug Den File Photo

(opendemocracy.net – Dmitry Lebedev – February 20, 2017) Dmitry Lebedev is a freelance journalist from Moscow. He holds a Master’s research degree in political philosophy from Radboud University, Nijmegen, Netherlands. When Russian media report an increase or decrease in drug addiction in the country, they are usually only reflecting the number of users officially registered at state clinics. The practice […]

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How Can Russia Reverse its Negative Demographic Trend?

Couple in Hospital with Newborn

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Pavel Aptekar – February 1, 2017) Russia has long had a demographic crisis. That is why, 10 years ago, leaders introduced “maternity capital” – a special program encouraging couples to have more children. Participants receive government payouts for every successive child after their first. Families must use the money for specific needs – paying off […]

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Moscow Unlikely to Achieve Life Expectancy Gains It had Projected, Health Ministry Admits

Medical Symbol with Pole, Serpents, Wings, adapted from image at lanl.gov

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, January 26, 2016) The Russian health ministry has changed its target figures on reducing mortality rates and extending life expectancy by 2020, a reflection experts say of the fact that the Russian government no longer expects to be able to improve the health of the population as much as it did. Ministry […]

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Putin Country; As authoritarian control and renewed superpower tension dominate headlines, telling stories of Russia’s everyday heroes can reveal lost alternatives.

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

(opendemocracy.net – Susan Richards – January 19, 2017) Susan Richards is a non-executive director and founder of openDemocracy. She has produced a number of feature films and written a prize-winning book, Epics of Everyday Life, about the lives of ordinary Russians in the transition from communism. Lost & Found in Russia, Encounters in the Deep Heartland, which covers the period […]

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NEWSLINK: “He dared to speak the truth: Alexey Yablokov, scientific hero of Chernobyl” – The Ecologist (UK)/Chris Busby

Chernobyl File Photo

“Alexey V. Yablokov (1933-2017) was a scientific giant of the post-Chernobyl age, writes Chris Busby. It was he who brought together the work of dissident Soviet scientists and revealed to the world, in English language, the true health impacts of the Chernobyl nuclear catastrophe. ….”

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Russian Ministry Airs Drastic Proposals To Snuff Out Smoking

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Tom Balmforth – MOSCOW, January 10, 2017) Since 2013, Russia has banned smoking in restaurants and taken serious measures to reduce its huge number of smokers. Now, drastic proposals aired this week could put Russia on course to try and eradicate the habit altogether. The Russian Health Ministry on January 9 proposed a blanket ban on […]

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NEWSWATCH: “‘We’re OUTBREEDING you!’ Putin taunts West as he unveils drive to boost Russian birth rate” – The Daily Express (UK)

Couple in Hospital with Newborn

… Putin… issued an extraordinary putdown to the West as he boasted that Russia was outbreeding its rivals and unveiled new scientific measures to up the country’s birth rate further still. … plans to roll out 94 “hi-tech” perinatal centres across the country during his annual address to parliament. … Putin pledged a series of measures, from scientific to social, […]

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NEWSLINK RBTH: “Waistline wars: The obesity problem Russia has yet to acknowledge”

File Photo of Feet of Woman on Scale, With Red Toenails and Help on Scale Digital Display Screen

Almost 30 percent of Russia’s population suffers from obesity and 60 percent are technically overweight. The dynamics of the last decades and global experience show that this is by far not the only problem: The additional burden on the economy may be even greater – especially because in Russia this issue is often ignored.

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Russians Now Killing Doctors as Aggressiveness Spreads throughout Population, Commentator Says

Medical Symbol with Pole, Serpents, Wings, adapted from image at lanl.gov

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, October 16, 2016) Aggression in Russian society is “changing qualitatively,” Aleksey Tarasov says, with ordinary Russians now regularly attacking and even killing doctors and others whom they would never have lifted a finger against in the past and with an increasing share of Russians accepting this as the new normal. As a […]

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Russia’s Largest Problem: Permafrost Lies beneath Two-Thirds of Its Territory and Two-Thirds of That Will Melt This Century

Polar Map Showing Permafrost Areas, Adapted From NOAA.gov Graphic

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, October 14, 2016) The Russian government says it will invest 80 billion US dollars in developing Russia’s Far North between now and 2030, money it does not yet have (profile.ru/economics/item/111568-5-trillionov). But the biggest barrier to achieving its goals may not be financial stringencies but the impact of global warming. According to Russian […]

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NEWSLINK RBTH: “Russia takes 119th place in global health ranking. Lower-than-expected score attributed to high rate of alcoholism and suicide.”

Medical Symbol with Pole, Serpents, Wings, adapted from image at lanl.gov

Russia was rated in the bottom third of a global ranking of population health in a report released last week by British medical journal The Lancet; the country ranked 119 out of 188 nations. The report, based on analysis by 1,800 scientists, graded nations on 33 health indicators approved by the UN in September 2015 as part of the Millennium […]

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Russia: the tinderbox in the struggle for a safe climate

Arctic Satellite Image and Map

Russia is at the forefront of the global climate change struggle. We ignore it at our peril. (opendemocracy.net – Daniel Voskoboynik – September 20, 2016) Daniel Voskoboynik is a journalist and campaigner covering human rights, ecology and migration. The Russian region of Yamal rarely makes global headlines. Despite being larger than France, its remote location bordering the Arctic Circle holds […]

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Interfax: Military-industrial complex capacity should not be used to produce pans, needs to target demands of healthcare, energy sectors – Putin

File Photo of Russian Tanks in Military Parade

TULA. Sept 8 (Interfax) – While manufacturing the hi-tech civil products, the Russian military-industrial complex should target the needs of the healthcare, energy, aircraft and ship construction, space and information technology sectors, it is unacceptable to produce frying pans on high-grade equipment, Russian President Vladimir Putin said. “Our military-industrial complex certainly has the potential to meet these challenges, it possesses […]

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Russians Today Shorter and Weaker than Their Parents, Moscow Medical Experts Say

Medical Symbol with Pole, Serpents, Wings, adapted from image at lanl.gov

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, September 5, 2016) Russians coming to adulthood now are approximately two centimeters shorter and much weaker than those who did so as recently as the 1970s and 1980s, the result not of genetic degradation but rather of a wide variety of #environmental factors, according to researchers at the Russian Academy of Medical […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s melting ice could release more threats to humanity” – AFP

Arctic Map

Anthrax, small pox and giant viruses – Russian scientists are warning of a host of threats that could be unleashed on the world as global warming melts the frozen far north …. A recent anthrax outbreak on the Yamal peninsula left a child dead, 23 people infected and the government scrambling … The most likely source of the epidemic was […]

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Helping Russia’s broken women to get back on their feet

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

Dozens of crisis centers operate in Russia to help women caught up in desperate situations and left without help from their families. Some of them have nowhere to live, while others are trying to get away from their alcoholic, wife-beating husbands. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – OLEG SKRIPNIK, SPECIAL TO RBTH – July 14, 2016) There are three […]

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Are Russia’s ‘anti-tobacco’ laws responsible for the decline of smoking?

The number of smokers in Russia has fallen to a seven-year minimum. Currently, only one Russian in three smokes. But is this related to the country’s anti-smoking legislation, one of the harshest in the world? Or has the economic crisis played a role? (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – OLEG YEGOROV, RBTH – July 8, 2016) “We’ve started smoking […]

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Russians Are Struggling to Afford Medication

Medical Symbol with Pole, Serpents, Wings, adapted from image at lanl.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ola Cichowlas – June 10, 2016) “Pharmacies have become like jewelry shops,” complained a man during this year’s annual phone-in with the Russian president. Vladimir Putin’s response was to reassure the man that his government planned to control rising medicine prices. When asked whether he used foreign or Russian-made medication, the president replied that he […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Lavrov seldom smokes but believes anti-smoking campaign in Russia is excessive” – TASS ….. #RUSSIA #SMOKING #LAVROV #TOBACCO

No Smoking Symbol

… Lavrov believes that Russia’s current measures against smoking are excessive somewhat. … he remarked that although he himself might light up a cigarette or two once in a while, he preferred … sports. Asked … if he smoked inside the Foreign Ministry’s building, Lavrov said: ‘I cannot violate Russia’s laws. But I believe that the laws have gone too […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Obesity problem is as acute in Russia as in United States – Russian Health Ministry” – TASS

File Photo of Feet of Woman on Scale, With Red Toenails and Help on Scale Digital Display Screen

Russia has caught up with the United States in the number of obese people, Sergey Boitsov, a part-time expert on preventive medicine at the Russian Health Ministry, told journalists. … “The number of obese men in Russia has more than doubled over the past 20 years and has reached the number of obese women” …. Click here for TASS: Obesity […]

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Demographics expert: Russian men live 11 years less than women

File Photo of Elders Walking in Russia

(Interfax – June 2, 2016) Life expectancy in Russia has been growing, but there is a considerable gap between male and female lifespan in the country, experts said. “Male life expectancy exceeded 65 years two years ago, for the first time in Russia’s history. However, the gap between male and female lifespan exceeds 11 years,” laboratory head at the Russian […]

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Number of smokers in Russia down 16-25%, Health Ministry wants to make access to tobacco impossible for those born after 2015

MOSCOW. May 30 (Interfax) – The number of smokers has decreased in Russia over the past 25 years, by 16% according to the Russian Federal Statistics Service (Rosstat) and by 25% according to public opinion polls, Russian Health Minister Veronica Skvortsova said. “The number of smokers has decreased in our country for the first time in 25 years, in the […]

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Russians Significantly Cut Back on Booze – Drug Treatment Center

Man in Silhoette with Bottle of Alcohol and Head in Hand

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – May 20, 2016) Over the past five years, Russians’ alcohol consumption has dropped by almost a third, the Health Ministry’s top drug specialist Yevgeny Bryun told the M24.ru news website. “An adult drinks 12.8 liters of pure alcohol a year on average. Five to six years ago the official amount was 18 liters per person,” […]

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Outrage and outsourcing in Russian healthcare

Medical Symbol with Pole, Serpents, Wings, adapted from image at lanl.gov

The doctor is out. Hunger strikes, mistreatment of patients and general desperation are beginning to seem like a feature – as opposed to a bug – of Russia’s healthcare system. (opendemocracy.net – Artur Asafyev – April 28, 2016) Artur Asafyev is a freelance correspondent for Radio Svoboda and Novaya Gazeta in Ufa, Bashkortostan. He has worked as a journalist since […]

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‘They Took Everything Away’: Russia’s Disabled Hit Hard By New Rules

Medical Symbol with Pole, Serpents, Wings, adapted from image at lanl.gov

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Claire Bigg – March 14, 2016) Daniil is 5 years old, but he has spent more time in the hospital than many adults. Last year, he was treated four times at the intensive-care unit of his local hospital in Magnitogorsk, an industrial city in Russia’s Urals region. Daniil suffers from congenital adrenal hyperplasia, a life-threatening genetic […]

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Who’s to blame for the meldonium: Russia’s athletes, doctors or officials?

Olympic Rings Lit at Night, adapted from image at state.gov

The drug that has been banned since January 2016 may lead to the disqualification of several leading Russian athletes in the wake of the Maria Sharapova scandal. However, Russian officials and athletics insiders disagree on who should take responsibility for the latest doping debacle to engulf Russian sports. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – TIMUR GANEEV, SPECIAL TO RBTH […]

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Russians started drinking less and living longer; Russians’ life expectancy increased to 71.2 years.

Man in Silhoette with Bottle of Alcohol and Head in Hand

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – ELEONORA GOLDMAN, RBTH – March 10, 2016) Infant mortality decreased by 12 percent in 2015 and Russians’ life expectancy has increased to just over 71.2 years, said Russian Minister of Health Veronika Skvortsova during a meeting with President Vladimir Putin on March 9, 2016. Meanwhile, she noted that the general aging of the […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Working meeting with Healthcare Minister Veronika Skvortsova

Medical Symbol with Pole, Serpents, Wings, adapted from image at lanl.gov

(Kremlin.ru – March 10, 2016) Late the previous evening, the President had a working meeting with Healthcare Minister Veronika Skvortsova. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Ms Skvortsova, we agreed that you will tell me about the current situation, the year-end results and the results of work in the first quarter – the last two months. Healthcare Minister Veronika Skvortsova: Thank […]

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As Ruble Nosedives, Russians Are Priced Out Of Live-Saving Western Treatment

Medical Symbol with Pole, Serpents, Wings, adapted from image at lanl.gov

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Claire Bigg – February 1, 2016) As the ruble continues its catastrophic tumble, hitting another historic low last month, the pain is being felt keenly across Russia. Among those worst hit are patients in need of urgent surgery abroad or other life-saving treatment billed in foreign currencies. “It all started with a bad cough and a […]

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