Migration and public health in Russia in the past and nowadays
Migration of population causes numerous problems, concerned with population health, its adaptation to new conditions, changes in the genetic pool of emigration sites, interactions of migrants with local inhabitants. Quite often, migration of people becomes the main cause for spreading of infectious diseases.
All newcomers are made to adapt to new life conditions. This adaptation can be subdivided into biological and social parts. Biological adaptation is adaptation of an organism to new natural conditions: climate, salt content of drinking water, local food and finally, visual perception of a landscape. Also, an immigrant should be actively adopted to a new social environment. In other words, the immigrant should go through a process of social adaptation, which first of all includes adaptation to various types of interpersonal relationships, ecological and cultural environment, working and life conditions, leisure time. Constant tension, sense of being lost, solitude and fear, tough living rhythm contribute to harmful environment for mental health of people, cause stresses, neuroses and psychic disorders, heart problems.
In a number of cases the migrants’ problem is not that they should adapt to local conditions, but also that local population should also adapt to culture and lifestyles of immigrants. This problem is particularly pronounced in the process of development of natural resources in the North and eastern regions of Russia, when numerous newcomers, participating in development of some deposits, settle down on the territory of aboriginal population (Nenetz, Hanti, Mansi, Selkup, Evenk etc.). In such cases, newcomers’ population significantly exceeds local inhabitants by numbers. This is the case of mutual adaptation, when newcomers are forced to adapt to tough local environment, while aboriginal population is forced to get accustomed to new aspects of social life, previously unknown to them.
Migration processes exert a significant influence on features of genetic pool of those regions, known for severe immigration. Immigrants bring not only their customs, dialects etc., but also their genes if they get married and have children with local population. Thus, immigration not only increases the population itself, but also augments the genetic diversity of population, which is being targeted by new genes. Increasing the variability within population, migration processes lead to decrease of inter–population diversity and restructure the ethnic map of the world. “Great transmigrations of people” are always accompanied by gene flows, changing the genetic pools of peoples and thus, their anthropological features and spectrum of genetic diseases.
Migration is often characterized by a selective pattern. As an example of selective migration, we can mention emigration leading not only to decrease in population numbers, but also to loss of genetic diversity. Thus, during recent years, the Germans, Jews, Armenians and Greeks have been emigrating from Russia, which leads to significant decrease in the proportion of these ethnic groups in total population of this country. Besides, among emigrants to other countries, the proportion of people with higher education greatly exceeds that, found in population in general. For example, in Moscow city, this proportion is 50% and 30%. Emigration of the most educated part of population is extremely damaging to working, intellectual and cultural potential of the society. Because of that, this process was called “brain drain”. In addition, the intellectual capacity is determined by our genes on 80%. Thus, the threat to genetic security of the country becomes quite clear. Similar problems are raised by the mass migration from rural areas to the cities – since most active and capable people are leaving, leaving with their genes.
The particular features of development of migration situation in the Russian Federation during last decade were governed by political and social–economic changes, which occurred over the entire post–Soviet territory after the disintegration of the Soviet Union. The annual immigration growth of Russian population during the period of 1993–2000 was on average 380 000 people. It reached maximum in 1994, and then constantly began to fall.
The immigration mainly from the CIS and Baltic countries remains one of the most important components in population dynamics of Russia. Partially it compensates the natural decrease in population, caused by excess of death rate over birth rate. In total, during 1989–2000 the population of the Russian Federation increased approximately by 3,9 million people due to migration between the CIS and Baltic countries.
The majority of immigrants from the former Soviet republics are the Russians. However, their proportion in total number of immigrants is constantly decreasing: from 76% in 1993 to 57% in 1999. Other Russian ethnic groups composed 10% of the immigration increment
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