The authors discuss changes in the priority trends in population health protection in Russia; these changes are due to gradual replacement of infectious diseases by chronic ones, which are mainly responsible for morbidity and mortality. The socioeconomic crisis of the beginning of the 90's involved a deterioration of medical care of the population, which led to increase of mortality caused by chronic diseases, primarily by diseases of the circulatory system. Using the regression methods, the authors analyze the relationships between the expected life span, mortality because of diseases of circulation, malignant tumors, and traumas, and the medical care of the population, including the specialized care. Specificities of these relationships, detected for the Leningrad region, indicate the necessity of improving the health measures aimed at therapy of chronic disease. The authors offer recommendations for the development of public health in Russia with due consideration for the modern epidemiological situation.