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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Study: Russians Almost 3 Times More Likely to Commit Suicide

Russians are nearly three times more likely to commit suicide than the world average, according to a new report by the Health Ministry's Moscow Research Institute of Psychiatry.

The suicide rate has jumped from 26.5 per 100,000 people in 1991 to 39.7 in 2001, according to the report released Monday.

Valery Krasnov, director of the Institute of Psychiatry, blamed the leap on social, political and economic problems that have flourished since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

"Suicide is not just a mental health problem," he said in a telephone interview. "It occurs relatively more often among healthy people than among the mentally ill."

Indeed, the ups and downs of Russia's suicide rate follow the country's fortunes. Suicides hit a high in 1994 of 42.1 per 100,000 people.

As overall well-being improved over the following years, the suicide rate went down. But in 1999, one year after the devaluation of the ruble, the suicide rate shot up again.

The delayed reaction should come as no surprise, Krasnov said.

"The beginning of 1998 until August was a time of prosperity. That prosperity was not immediately reflected in the figures for 1998," Krasnov said.

As high as it may be, Russia's suicide rate has largely leveled off since 1999. While Krasnov tentatively attributed the improvement to increased employment since the 1998 crisis, he insisted that the motives for suicide are never simple.

Chief among them, according to the report, are alcohol abuse and depressive disorders.

Suicide rates are six times higher among men than women, and peak much earlier.

Men are most likely to commit suicide between the ages of 45 and 54, whereas the rate for women is highest above the age of 75.