Streetwise Professor

December 17, 2009

The Real Skinny on Russia

Filed under: Economics,Politics,Russia — The Professor @ 8:41 pm

WindowOnEurasia quotes Rosstat figures showing (a) Russians’ caloric intake is the same as German POWs held by the USSR in WWII (in late-’41, anyways), (b) this intake fell from 2007 to 2008 (no data on the effect of the crisis, but it couldn’t have been good), and (c) even the higher 2007 intake was “below medical norms.”   The article also states: “it is not just the size of caloric intake that is worrisome: the mix of goods – too much alcohol [go figure] and too little fresh food.”  This is obviously an important health issue, and one with national security implications, as many Russian males are physically unfit, in large part due to the effects of poor nutrition, to serve in the military.

This brings to mind an experience from the summer past.  Two Russian college students, young women, stayed with us for awhile.  During a dinner conversation, Mrs. SWP asked them if Russian boys were big and strong.  They both giggled.  Then Marina (herself a slip of a thing) said: “NO!  They’re all too skinny!”  The entire SWP family would watch in amazement as they would pack it away, like they hadn’t eaten before.  And these are young women from middle-to-upper middle class families in a large city.  When they left, Marina wrote a nice thank you note, which emphasized especially “the wonderful steaks!!!!!” (exclamation points in the original).  It was amusing, in a way, but really quite telling and sad.

And to think that Russia was once the world’s breadbasket.  I wonder if those who comment here about Stalin’s achievements in industrializing Russia and the USSR fully comprehend the significance of the fact that this alleged achievement wrecked Russian (Soviet) agriculture.  The late Gaidar’s book described in detail how this was a major contributor to the USSR’s ultimate collapse.  And the legacy lives on: an industrial wreck, trapped in amber, and an emaciated populace.

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62 Comments »

  1. Pwned.

    Comment by peter — January 1, 2010 @ 1:54 pm

  2. @La Russophobe

    And yet, you twit, the US rates 49th by teh CIA World FactBook on Child Mortality, well below Cuba and many other nations and has been falling each of the past 10 years, while Russia is rising. Better paid, if you had a clue, is not meaning better or more knowledgable. Just because your doctors have to get a 4 or 5 year bachelor “premed” degree in under water basketweaving does not make their education better, just them bigger fools for giving away 4 or 5 years and tens of thousands of dollars to a corrupt system.

    Comment by Stanislav — January 2, 2010 @ 3:44 am

  3. LR specializes in the kind of hit and run idiocy that attracts the putrid likes of Dick.

    Comment by jojo — January 10, 2010 @ 1:27 pm

  4. ???

    Comment by peter — January 10, 2010 @ 1:56 pm

  5. cyrillic encoding test: ??????????? ??????????? ???????????

    Comment by peter — January 11, 2010 @ 6:48 am

  6. broken

    Comment by peter — January 11, 2010 @ 6:49 am

  7. Peter–

    yeah, I noticed that when going thru my spam queue. Funny thing, most of my spam is in cyrillic from yandex.ru addresses 🙂 My host just upgraded my wordpress, and in fixing one glitch I think this one was introduced.

    Another one that I’ve noticed when I post comments, and I wonder if it’s happening when anybody else posts them: as soon as I hit “submit comment” and the comment is posted, some g.d. viagra ad text appears.

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — January 11, 2010 @ 10:56 am

  8. Yes, same with me.

    Comment by peter — January 11, 2010 @ 11:38 am

  9. Fail!

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — January 11, 2010 @ 9:00 pm

  10. Test. ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — January 13, 2010 @ 1:45 pm

  11. Bob–that’s all Greek to me:) Here’s a cyrillic test:

    ?????????

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — January 13, 2010 @ 3:07 pm

  12. Pass!

    The ProfessorComment by The Professor — January 13, 2010 @ 3:07 pm

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