Health Status of Russian Minorities in Former Sovjet Republics
George Groenewold, Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute (NIDI)
Jeroen van Ginneken, Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute (NIDI)
Ethnic Russians still constitute sizable minorities in some former Soviet Republics. After the dismantling of the USSR, by the end of 1991, their sociopolitical position has significantly weakened. Some argue that this has resulted in ethnic Russians occupying a lower socio-economic status, leading to lower health status and higher mortality rates. Others point to the importance of ethnic group-specific health risk behavior and illness control. We used nationally representative World Health Survey data to examine the role of both types of contributing factors when comparing the health status of Russian minority and native majority populations in the Newly Independent States of Estonia, Latvia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Russian Federation. The main finding is that health status differences do exist but that effects of wealth, education, health risk behavior and illness control vary with the socio-political position. Effects are most pronounced in countries where the sociopolitical position of the Russian minority is weakest.