Sarmatian Review Index


Number of cases of diphtheria in the Russian Federation since 1990: 140,000. Number of deaths: 4,000.

Source: A study published on 8 September 1998 by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Washington, DC, as reported by Agence France Presse, 8 September 1998.

Number of people suffering from tuberculosis in the Russian Federation in 1998: 2.5 million.
Percentage increase in the first 10 months of 1998: 8.5 percent.

Source: Russian health ministry official on 16 October 1998, as reported by AFP, 17 October 1998.

Country which has the world's highest adolescent suicide rate: Bulgaria.
Suicide rate in Bulgaria among the general population: 18.2 suicides per 100,000 people.

Source: AFP, 10 September 1998.

Estimated number of alcoholics in Ukraine: over five million, or ten percent of the population.

Source: Lily Hyde of RFE/RL (Kyiv), 16 September 1998.

Percentage decrease in the consumption of alcohol in Poland over the last ten years: 33 percent, to eight liters per person.

Source: Donosy, 5 October 1998.


Amount of money which Moscow's American business community lost in August-September 1998 due to economic crisis in Russia: $463 million.

Source: John Varoli in Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 28 September 1998.

Estimated value of losses by private creditors and banks in the August-September financial crisis in Russia: $100 billion and $50 billion, respectively or, to quote Fitch's, 'the single largest credit loss ever imposed on private sector creditors.'
Amount of foreign debt which the Russian government promises to honor but which it is in danger of defaulting on: $155 billion, of which $66 billion is held by private creditors.

Source: Credit rating agency Fitch IBCA, as reported by AFP, 8 September 1998.

Amount of money 'conned' from Western financial institutions by Russia in Spring 1998: $20 billion.

Source: Anatoly Chubais in an interview published in the Russian daily Kommersant, 8 September 1998, as reported by Richard S. Paddock, The New York Times, 9 September 1998.

Percentage fall in Russia's oil revenues over the first seven months of 1998 compared to the same period last year: 26.7 percent.
Revenues from Russia's oil sales through July 1998: $5.886 billion.
Countries which are Russia's most profitable customers as oil consumers: Germany, Poland and Italy.

Source: AFP, 10 September 1998.

Amount of rubles in circulation as of 1 September 1998: 158 billion.
Amount of rubles in circulation as of 21 September 1998: 170.3 billion, or $10.7 billion.

Source: Russia's Central Bank, as reported by Russia Today (, 11 September 1998, and Associated Press, 25 September 1998.

Daily trades at the Moscow Stock Exchange in January 1998: around $100 million.
The Russian stock market index in January 1998: around 410.
The Russian stock market index on 16 September 1998: 58.86.

Source: AFP, 15 and 16 September 1998.

Daily trade at the Moscow Stock Exchange on 25 September 1998: $163,350.

Source: AP, 25 September 1998.

Capitalization of the London Stock Exchange at the end of 1997: $1,500 billion.

Source: Alan Cowell, "Plotting the Center of the New Europe," The New York Times, 21 October 1998.

Percentage of state revenues in the Russian Empire that came from vodka sales in tsarist times: 50 percent.
Percentage of recorded state income in the USSR (before the 1980s when gas and oil became big moneymakers) that came from vodka sales: 35 percent.
Estimated percentage of state revenues in the Russian Federation that come from vodka sales (after President Yeltsin's liquidated the state vodka monopoly in 1992): four percent.

Source: Michael Wines, "Yeltsin Tries to Turn Back Tide of Vodka," The New York Times, 26 September 1998.

Decrease in Russian-Chinese trade between 1997 and 1998: from $6.12 billion in 1997 to $5.5 billion in 1998.

Source: An unnamed Chinese economist interviewed by ITAR-TASS, as reported by RFE/RL, 6 November 1998.

Percentage of factories in the Russian Federation which were unprofitable in 1992 and 1996, respectively: 7.2 percent and 44 percent.
Number of factories in the Russian Federation in 1990 and 1996: 20,998 and 14,934.

Source: Judith Matloff, "Making Do in Russia Means Not Making TVs," The Christian Science Monitor, 20 October 1998.

Percentage increase in Russian military production between September 1997-September 1998: 15.4 percent.

Source: Interfax, as reported by RFE/RL, 30 October 1998.

Estimated Russian total foreign debt as of November 1998: $170 billion, or 2.6 trillion rubles at the November 5 ruble exchange rate (more than 80 percent of the GDP).

Source: The MFK Renaissance financial group, as reported by Mark Rice-Oxley of AFP, 5 November 1998.

Russia's 1999 budget, as presented by the government on 10 December 1999: $29 billion [sic].
The United States Federal Budget for 1999: $1.7 trillion.
Projected fractional repayment of foreign debt as envisaged by the Russian budget; $9.5 billion (of $17.5 billion due).

Source: Michael Gordon, "Russia Offers 1999 Budget," The New York Times, 11 December 1998.


Percentage of 'foreigners' in the German population: nine percent, or seven million people.

Source: The New York Times, 16 October 1998. NB: these are not actual foreigners but persons of non-German ancestry to whom the German political system has so far denied German citizenship.

Population decline on the island of Sakhalin in the Russian Federation's Far East between 1992-1997: 12 percent (from 720,000 to 632,000).
Drop in life expectancy on Sakhalin between 1992-1997: from 68 to 55 years.

Source: Victor Mote, Siberia: Worlds Apart (Boulder, CO: Westview Press 1998), 192.

Percentage decrease in population of the northeastern part of the Russian Federation since the early 1990s: over ten percent, or 800,000 persons.

Source: ITAR-TASS on 9 November 1998, as reported by RFE/RL on the same day.


Number of cars stolen yearly in the United States (according to FBI files): 1.4 million.
Of these, number of cars that end up in Poland: two thousand.

Source: Donosy, 18 September 1998.


Russian grain harvest in 1998: 50 million metric tons (the lowest in 41 years).
Russian grain harvest in 1997: 88 million metric tons.
Amount of grain consumed by Russia yearly: 70 million metric tons, of which 22 million is used for food and the rest for cattle feed and seed.

Source: US Department of Agriculture, as reported by the New York Times, 10 October 1998; the NYT, 11 November 1998.

French estimate of the Russian grain harvest in 1998 (delivered by an agricultural consultant to the French embassy in Moscow, Jean-Jacques Herve): 40 million tons.
Value of food which Russia imported in 1997: $12 billion.
Percentage fall in the Russian farm production over the first nine months of 1998 compared to the same period in 1997: 9.4 percent.
Percentage fall in the potato harvest: 10.7 percent.
Number of cattle in Russia counted on 1 October 1998: 31.5 million.

Source: AFP, 10 October 1998.


Turnout in the 11 October 1998 local elections in Poland: over 46 percent.
Turnout in the 1994 local elections in Poland: 34 percent.
The winner: AWS (Solidarity Electoral Action, or a center-right coalition of Solidarity-based parties and groups) which got 16 percent of the vote and 10,613 of 63,765 seats in local councils, municipal governments and regional as well as provincial legislative assemblies.

Source: Jan de Weydenthal, RFE/RL, 26 October 1998.

Voting patterns in the 3 November 1998 House elections in the United States: Protestants 45 percent Democrat and 58 percent Republican; white Protestants 35 percent Democrat and 65 percent Republican; Catholics 53 percent Democrat and 47 percent Republican; Jewish 79 percent Democrat and 21 percent Republican.

Source: The New York Times, 9 November 1998.

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Last updated 3/19/99