Old Saint Basil's Cathedral in MoscowJohnson's Russia List title and scenes of Saint Petersburg
Excerpts from the JRL E-Mail Community :: Founded and Edited by David Johnson
#19 - JRL 2006-118 - JRL Home
Date: Sat, 20 May
From: Jerry Hough jhough@duke.edu
Subject: Re: life expectancy

All this talk about birth rates and Putin's authoritarianism gives one a real feeling of disgust. Male life expectancy at 59 for 10 years of high oil prices translates into far more deaths than Stalin had with collectivization and exceeds Hitler's figures with Jews if countries like Ukraine are included. This is a humanitarian disaster far greater than Sudan, and at least Sudan has an excuse. It is a national secuirty disaster for Europe if bird flu becomes transmittable.

But, of course, too many "respectable" people of both parties in the US are involved to raise the issue now. We will have to wait 50 years until they are all dead. It will then become conventional wisdom that Hannah Arendt should not have wasted a good phrase "the banality of evil" on a man whose evil was not banal at all. One really sees the phenomenon over the last decade. But does not Putin have enough money that he can now worry about having an historical reputation like Stalin's? Do not human interest groups have the ability to speak up since the blood is not on their hands? It is the most incredible thing in my 50 years of being in public life.