Russians’ life expectancy plummeted in 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic disrupted President Vladimir Putin’s goal to increase lifespans, according to state figures cited by the RBC news website Thursday.
Annual life expectancy dropped for the first time in 17 years from a record of 73.3 years in 2019 to 71.1 years last year, according to the cited preliminary figures. Russia's state statistics agency recently announced 323,000 excess deaths in 2020, the highest in a decade and a half.
“The spread of the new coronavirus infection has objectively diverted Russia from the development trajectory aimed at achieving the 2018 national goals,” RBC quoted the draft government report as saying.
With adjustments for the pandemic, the Russian government now reportedly expects life expectancy to start inching up in six-month increments from 71.7 years in 2022 to 73.6 years in 2024.
Russia has earmarked 1.7 trillion rubles ($22 billion) on healthcare to meet Putin’s goal of raising life expectancy to 75.2 years by the time his current term ends in 2024.
According to RBC, the Russian government expects the country’s population to decline by 583,400 in 2020. It expects overall population loss to total more than 2.2 million between 2020-2024 before finally rising by 54,700 in 2030.
Russia’s official statistics agency previously placed the population decline at 510,000 people from 146.75 million in 2019 to 146.24 million last year.