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Suicide during transition in the former Soviet Republics 

Suicide during transition in the former Soviet Republics
Suicide during transition in the former Soviet Republics

Airi Värnik

and Alexander Mokhovikov

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date: 05 July 2022

Significant social, political, and economic changes in the countries of the former Soviet Union present a good model for investigation of the impact of environment on suicide mortality during times of transition. During the period of perestroika (1985–1990), when promising social changes were rapid, a significant decrease of suicide mortality was observed for both genders in all fifteen republics of the USSR. One of the factors which contributed to the decrease was the strict anti-alcohol policy implemented in 1985 and suspended by 1989. However, times of spiritual liberation, the aspiration of democracy, social optimism and hopes for higher living standards could also have attributed to the causality of suicide decrease. In the years 1990–1994, after the disintegration of the Soviet Union, the suicide rates in post-Soviet countries increased, with the exception of prevailingly Muslim central Asiatic, and the Caucasus countries which have a traditionally low level of suicides. The transitional period called for high adaptation capacity and the necessity of developing suicide-prevention programmes to increase social support and re-education measures.

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