Loss of whole city’s population: Tatarstan breaks anti-record in mortality outstripping Moscow and Petersburg

The natural decline in population in the republic has been 8,252 people for the first time in many years

Loss of whole city’s population: Tatarstan breaks anti-record in mortality outstripping Moscow and Petersburg
Photo: Rinat Nazmetdinov

Tatarstan has broken the anti-record in the population’s mortality rate showing one of the worst results in Russia. 18,7% more people have died in the republic in 2020 — the situation is relatively worse than even in Moscow (plus 17,4%) and Saint Petersburg (plus 16,1%). The numbers are worse only in Chechnya, Ingushetia and Dagestan. And this is just the official data of the Russian Federal Statistics Service from January to October. If we omit the soulless percentages, Tatarstan has lost by 6,407 people more than a year ago. The natural decline in the population (the difference between the number of people who were born and died) has reached minus 8,252 residents for the first time in a while — it is more than the population of Rybnaya Sloboda and almost the official amount of people living in Laishevo. Realnoe Vremya’s analytic staff examined the sad statistics.

Death toll rise is 6,407 people

More people have died in Tatarstan in nine months than ever in the last 10 years — 42,605 people. It is by 6,407 deaths more than in 2019 or by 4,747 people more than in 2018. The numbers of death in Russia’s regions have been published only from January to October.

After examining the data of the Russian and Tatarstan statistics services, Realnoe Vremya’s analytic staff also saw a rise in the mortality coefficient over the year — from 11,0 to 12,7 (January-September).

It is noteworthy that, as our online newspaper wrote, in early 2020, the death toll was 5% lower than last year’s numbers. Diseases of the blood circulatory system (nearly half, 145,000 cases), turmoil (48,000 deaths), external causes of death (21,300 deaths), diseases of the nervous system and digestive system (around 17,000 deaths each) were indicated as the main causes. As for specific diseases that led to deaths, ischemic heart disease with 75,400 cases of death occupied the first place. Malignant turmoil was the runner-up (47,000), cerebrovascular diseases accounted for 44,000 and were third.

The Russian Federal Statistics Service named the causes of the population’s mortality only in the first quarter of 2020. This data stopped being published in April, now one can see only general statistics on deaths without citing diseases. Photo: Maksim Platonov

By the way, the Russian Federal Statistics Service named the causes of the population’s mortality only in the first quarter of 2020. This data stopped being published in April, now one can see only general statistics on deaths without citing diseases. The epidemiological situation worsened in Russia due to coronavirus precisely in March, and measures began to be taken in the country at the end of the month to prevent the spread of COVID-19 by sending citizens to self-isolation.

At the same time, according to the Centre for Hygiene and Epidemiology in the Republic of Tatarstan, the epidemiological situation from January to September 2020 was characterised by a bigger number of flu cases (133,9%) and viral respiratory infections (112,9%) compared to the corresponding period in 2019.

Is coronavirus guilty?

According to official data, 174 people have died from coronavirus in the republic since the beginning of the pandemic and introduction of anti-COVID-19 measures. However, those people who died from co-existing causes might also replenish the death statistics in Tatarstan (42,605 people), thinks Director of the Centre for Precision and Regenerative Medicine at the Institute of Fundamental Medicine and Biology of Kazan Federal University Albert Rizvanov.

“Here various reasons coincided. Firstly, it is people who died directly from the novel coronavirus infection. Secondly, as federal functionaries who are responsible for health care say, statistics in Russia are specific: some died from COVID-19 and some died from other diseases in addition to coronavirus. In other words, the statistics don’t consider the direct effect of COVID-19. Though, of course, coronavirus is a risk factor for many chronic diseases,” the expert explains to Realnoe Vremya.

The interlocutor of the newspaper named a reduction in the amount of medical advice provided during the pandemic as the third factor. So the population didn’t receive enough medical services, which led to aggravation of chronic diseases.

As Realnoe Vremya wrote, with the introduction of emergency state (from late March to early June), health establishments received only those who required emergency aid. While when some time was found for ordinary patients, Tatarstan hospitals faced a big influx of visitors — queues began outdoors. The elderly waited for an appointment with their doctor for hours. Hospitals managed to service all patients with difficulty.

“The absence of full-fledged medical advice made its ‘contribution’ and will be making it to the mortality rate for years,” Rizvanov adds. “After neglecting the situation now, it will be echoing for many years.”

The professor named stress as the fourth reason.

“It is necessary to consider people’s stress because of isolation, constant negativism in the mass media. While stress both has a direct impact on health (mental and physical) and weakens immunity, which led to poorer protection of the population from different infections. All these factors brought to the rise in mortality we see,” Albert Rizvanov concluded.

Stress both has a direct impact on health (mental and physical) and weakens immunity, which led to poorer protection of the population from different infections. Photo: Ilya Repin

Tatar “Russian cross”

A low natality rate in the region also coincides with the sad situation. So 35,939 newborns were born a year ago (from January to October), while the number in 2020 is 34,353. The peak in natality in the last 10 years was in 2014 (47,762).

So growth of the population a year ago was just 38 people. The record-high 2016 had 9,413. In 2020, there was a “negative growth” if we are speaking the new language: the decline has been 8,252 people.

The natality and mortality curve were parallel until last year, while they crossed in 2019 creating a demographic “Russian cross”. And the mortality curve has gone up and that of natality has decreased in 2020.

“We will have to sum it up later,” State Duma deputy Ayrat Farrakhov who chaired the Tatarstan Health Care Ministry comments. “The factor of low base during the previous years (low mortality rate) has a serious influence. All the Russian Federation has been in the ‘demographic pit’ in the last years. It is a situation that is characteristic for our country during the post-war period (after the Great Patriotic War), the so-called ‘Russian cross’ when natality suddenly goes down over some period of time (20-30 years). This will happen for some 5-7 years, which will influence a sudden reduction [in the number of] of the workable population by approximately a million people a year, which influences death rates.”

Realnoe Vremya also asked the Tatarstan Ministry of Health to comment on the high mortality rates in the republic and wondered how health workers were going to fix the situation with the demographic phenomenon in the next years.

By Timur Rakhmatullin
Analytics Tatarstan