Russian suicide rate falling

July 9, 2006 - 0:0
MOSCOW (AFP) -- Russia's oil-driven economic boom is causing a steady reduction in suicides.

Figures for 2004, the last year for which complete statistics are available, show that 49,000 people committed suicide in that year, the Novye Izvestia newspaper said, citing the federal statistics service.

This compares with a record 61,000 in 1995, the newspaper said.

Between January and April this year, 12,900 Russians committed suicide, a reduction from 14,000 in the same period last year.

"This reduction is linked to the stabilization of life... due to oil," the newspaper quoted Vladimir Voitsekh, a researcher into suicide at the Serbsky Psychiatric Institute, as saying.

"But if the oil stops flowing the standard of living will again fall and the number of suicides will increase," he said.

Russia's Siberian provinces have the highest suicide rates, while the lowest rates are found in the mainly Muslim North Caucasus.