In 1968, the Soviet economist and demographer Boris Urlanis started a national conversation in the Soviet Union with his article “Beregite muzhchin!” or “Save the Men!” in the popular journal Literaturnaia gazeta. The essay, translated here, points out the increasingly troubling imbalance in male and female health as men were dying, on average, eight years earlier than women. Urlanis calls for attention to accidents and lifestyle problems (smoking and drinking, as featured in propaganda posters) as well as a nationwide set of health institutions centered on male health. The essay precipitated a flood of essays, letters, commentaries, cartoons, and even a movie under the same title.
Tricia Starks is associate professor of history at the University of Arkansas. She is the author of The Body Soviet: Propaganda, Hygiene, and the Revolutionary State (University of Wisconsin Press, 2008) and Smoking under the Tsars: A History of Tobacco in Imperial Russia (Cornell University Press, 2018). With Matthew P. Romaniello, she coedited Tobacco in Russian History and Culture: From the Seventeenth Century to the Present (Routledge, 2009) and Russian History through the Senses: From 1700 to the Present (Bloomsbury, 2016). E-mail: email@example.com