Do ethnic minority populations cope better with the transition from socialism and subsequent economic decline than Russian majority populations in post-communist Russia?
Using multivariate and random-effects models for the 1994–2004 panel data and adjusting for income, urbanization, and crime, this paper demonstrates that the long-standing pattern of Muslim mortality advantage continued to persist during the post-Soviet mortality crisis in Russia. This study suggests that in the ethno-territorial federative system of Russia belonging not to autonomous republics, but to the Muslim ethno-religious communities was significant in resistance to cumulative death crisis during a period of dramatic societal changes. In fact, both living in the Caucasus environment and in the Muslim ethno-religious communities appeared to be significant factors. This study suggests that not only religion, but cultural practices based on ethno-religious and environmental prescriptions may account for collectively healthier practices and, therefore, advantageous mortality outcomes.