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For further discussion of trends in mortality by age and region, see Anderson and Silver (1989b, 1990b), Blum and Monnier(1989), Dutton (1979), and Sinelnikov (1988).
For Estonia, infant mortality rates and life tables by county for the Soviet period and the early 1990s have just been published (Katus, 1994a, 1994b).
We have studied seasonal patterns of registered births in the republics of the former Soviet Union as an indicator of the overall quality of the vital registration system (Anderson and Silver, 1988). The rank ordering of the republics in the plausibility of the seasonal pattern of births corresponds closely to our evaluation of the quality of mortality data by republic.
This conclusion is based in part on an analysis of mortality data for Russian provinces we undertook in collaboration with Vladimir Shkolnikov and Sergei Vassin.
The U.N. program COMPAR, part of MORTPAK, was used to calculate the implied levels of expectation of life at birth. When the implied expectation of life at birth was greater than 80 years, it is plotted here as 82. There has been work on model life tables at very low levels of mortality (Coale and Guo, 1989, 1990). It is not plausible that in the traditionally Moslem republics of the former Soviet Union, actual mortality would be consistent with an expectation of life at birth of more than 80 years.
For discussion of the selection of a standard as a common metric and for an assessment of the plausibility of the reported "shape" of mortality curves in different regions of the former Soviet Union, see Anderson and Silver (1989a).
This was also argued by Dmitrieva and Andreev (1987).