Politicized Demography and Biomedical Authority in Post-Soviet Russia

Inna Leykin, Michele Rivkin-Fish

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We explore obstetrician-gynecologists’ (ob-gyns’) shifting involvement in late Soviet and post-Soviet reproductive politics and track broader political-economic dynamics of the profession’s ambivalent relations with state demographic discourses. Soviet ob-gyns largely distanced themselves from explicitly pronatalist agendas. Post-soviet national politics of ‘population renewal’ and the neoliberalization of health care have significantly restructured ob-gyns’ orientations. To assert their authority and gain economic footing, ob-gyns have highlighted their contributions to the state’s demographic agendas. The post-Soviet context illustrates how understanding the medicalization of population problems requires examining the political-economic relations between physicians and the state–dynamics that can transform ideologies and medical practices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)702-717
Number of pages16
JournalMedical Anthropology: Cross Cultural Studies in Health and Illness
Issue number6-7
StatePublished - 3 Oct 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


  • Soviet and post-Soviet Russia
  • maternity care
  • medical authority
  • population politics
  • pronatalism
  • reproductive health


Dive into the research topics of 'Politicized Demography and Biomedical Authority in Post-Soviet Russia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this