Old Saint Basil's Cathedral in MoscowJohnson's Russia List title and scenes of Saint Petersburg
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#4 - JRL 7028
Ever more Russians die of unnatural causes as population declines

Moscow, 21 January: Deaths from alcohol poisoning rose by over a third - 34 per cent - in 2000-2002 in Russia, while the number of suicides and homicides went up by 9 per cent, according to a report by the Ministry of Education and Social Development received by ITAR-TASS today.

The report was drawn up for a conference that Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov will be attending today - "On progress towards drafting programmes for socio-economic development in the Russian Federation in the medium term".

In the past few years, the report says, "mortality from unnatural causes linked to unfavourable social conditions has continued to rise". This is largely due to the low living standards endured by many Russians.

It also notes the continuing decline in Russia's population. On 1 December 2002, before the latest census results were published, it was 143.3m people - down 3m on 1999.

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