Russia has one of the lowest rates of adult life expectancy in the world. Average life expectancy for a man in America is 74; in Russia, it is just 59. Birth rates and population levels have also plummeted. These excess levels of mortality affect all countries that formed the former Soviet bloc. Running into many millions, they raise obvious comparisons with the earlier period of forced transition under Stalin. This book seeks to put the recent history of the transition into a longer term perspective by identifying, explaining and comparing the pattern of change in Russia in the last century. It offers a sharp challenge to the conventional wisdom and benign interpretations offered in the west of what has happened since 1991. Through a careful survey of the available primary and secondary sources, Mike Haynes and Rumy Husan have produced the first and most complete and accurate account of Russian demographic crisis from the Revolution to the present.
'Combining exhaustive demographic inquiry with incisive social and political analysis, the authors record the successive phases of the trauma that Russia has endured in the 20th century, placing each in its historical context and ideological setting. A vivid and chilling account of some of the most terrible events of modern history.' Noam Chomsky 'The claim that economics and related disciplines are value-free objective sciences is now thoroughly discredited. Yet the need for humane and dispassionate scholarship in these disciplines has never been more needed. Michael Haynes and Rumy Husan have provided just this with their fine volume, A Century of State Murder? By carefully examining the available statistics, their meaning and limitations, and the conventional wisdom about Russia and the USSR of the past 100 years, i.e. before and after the fall of "communism", they have produced a detailed, balanced and clearly written account of the dreadful history of Russian demography in the regimes of this period.
All of them stand condemned, for their arrogance, harshness and ignorance, as do the irresponsible advisors from the West who advocated ill-conceived institutional changes based on mistaken applications of mainstream economic theory to inappropriate situations.' G.C. Harcourt, Jesus College, Cambridge University
Mike Haynes lectures in economic history at the University of Wolverhampton. Rumy Husan lectures on the transition economies with reference to emerging economies at the University of Leeds.
List of Tables List of Figures Preface and Acknowledgements The USSR in the Late Stalin Era The Four Great Mortality Crises in Twentieth-Century USSR-Russia Glossary and Abbreviations 1 Demography - the Social Mirror? Lies, damned lies and statistics? Murder most foul? A century of population change in Russia The mirror of society? 2 The Revolt Against Class Society 1890-1928 Mortality in Tsarist Russia The class pattern of death War and repression Revolution and the vision of the future The waning dream 3 Death and the Stalin Era 1929-53 The pressure of accumulation The total number Death and repression The determinants of the 'normal' death rate Wars The end of the Stalin Era 4 Policy, Inequalities and Death in the USSR 1953-85 Judicial death and repression Imperialism and war The pattern of normal death Explaining the patterns of death National variations within the USSR vi A Century of State Murder? 5 The End of Perestroika and the Transition Crisis of the 1990s Perestroika and the collapse of the USSR 1985-91 Shock therapy reforms of 1992 The Impact of Reforms: low pay, poverty and inequality Mistaken assumptions underlying the reform programme 6 'Normal' deaths During the First Decade of Transition Unprecedented peacetime mortality Why so many deaths? Key factors of mortality decline 7 Yeltsin, Putin and 'Abnormal' Deaths 1992-2002 Collective violence and 'intentional' deaths Political crisis and civil unrest Death and disease in prisons Torture and state executions The war in Chechnya 8 Conclusion Class inequality and a 'quiet violence' A century of state murder Appendix: Basic Data on the Prison Camp System under Stalin Notes Bibliography Index