I’m just kidding. I’m a Russian. But the same goes for everyone else, and I’m sure that many of them would agree with me. In his own words, the Russian has a “hard time with death” and can’t stand to see anyone else die. I used to hate Russians, and this quote, which I still have on my wall, was a catalyst for me. I was angry at the Russians, because, until then I hadn’t really bothered trying to understand where they really came from. And now, after reading this book, I understand better. I was so angry that I ended up taking a job there. And it sounds a little bit like the Russian Roulette.
Now, I didn’t make this up. I used this quote, a Russian quote, to make my point to my Russian neighbor, when I told him that I couldn’t stand to see Russians dying in combat. My neighbor responded, saying that he would never kill Russians in combat, that he was Russian and killed Russians. I was flabbergasted! I knew that he was completely sane, but I also knew how crazy he could be. My neighbor had his own demons, and if he had one, he didn’t come out of it alive. He was a great guy, but it would have been nice if it were possible to understand how he felt. For once I felt like I was doing something to help him, rather than simply writing about one of his many demons.
It’s not like Russians aren’t on the whole suicidal. In the past decade, the number of suicides in Russia has increased more than 400 percent. It’s one of the leading causes of death here. And the increase was driven by an explosion in prescription drug addiction. In 2010 alone, Russian suicide rates were 3 times higher than in the U.S., and the number of suicides among military veterans increased 500- fold between 1992 and 1998 alone. More Russians are suffering from alcoholism, depression (often combined with depression caused by an untreated heart condition like hypertrophic cardiomyopathy), and drug addiction than the U.S. alone. This trend also leads to many Russian soldiers having to carry firearms to combat in Afghanistan and Iraq.
It’s not all doom and gloom, though. There is hope. In a study by the U.S. Defense Information School in Washington, a group of Russian scientists discovered what they believe is a cause of the increasing suicide rates among Russians: boredom! Russian soldiers are generally bored,