Nicholas Eberstadt has written about this before, but the subject continues to astonish.
UPDATE: link fixed now. Thanks. Art.
The overall magnitude of Russia’s downward health spiral is catastrophic. According to estimates from the Human Mortality Database, a research consortium, overall life expectancy at birth in Russia was slightly lower in 2009 (the latest year for which ﬁgures are available) than in 1961, almost half a century earlier. The situation is even worse for Russia’s adult population: in 2009, life expectancy at age 15 for all Russian adults was more than two years below its level in 1959; life expectancy for young men sank by almost four years over those two generations. Put another way, post-Soviet Russia has suªered a cumulative “excess mortality” of more than seven million deaths, meaning that if the country could have simply held on to its Gorbachev-era survival rates over the last two decades, seven million deaths could have been averted. This ﬁgure is more than three times the death toll World War I inﬂicted on imperial Russia.