Staunton, Sept. 28 – Vladimir Putin plans to mobilize up to 3,000 Russian doctors to support his military campaign in Ukraine, Dmitry Khubezov, head of the Duma’s healthcare committee, a number that both reflects the combat losses Russia has suffered and inflicts more harm on the Russian healthcare system.
But as serious as that impact will be, Andrey Konovalov, leader of a doctor’s union, says, it pales in comparison with the effects of Putin’s healthcare optimization program which has led to the close of many medical points and left Russians outside the major cities without access to healthcare (nakanune.ru/articles/119621/).
“The doctor shortage in Russia is growing,” he continues, and what money the government has put into the branch has gone not toward eliminating that shortage but rather to rebuilding facilities and purchasing equipment, money that thus goes to contractors rather than to improving medical care.
That does not mean that anyone should ignore the impact of Putin’s latest action in this area but rather view it in the context of the Kremlin leader’s destruction of the already overextended and hard-pressed medical system. Whether this will be the straw that breaks the camel’s back very much remains to be seen.
But it is certain that at least in some regions, healthcare will continue to decline and mortality rates grow, precisely opposite to what the government is claiming and yet another cost of Putin’s war in Ukraine that Russians across the country will be feeling directly on their own skins.
Window on Eurasia — New Series