Thursday, November 12, 2015

Russians Consuming Far More Alcohol than OECD and WHO Say, Russian Expert Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, November 12 – Kremlin-controlled media have been celebrating the fact that according to the OECD and WHO, Russians consume less alcohol per capita than do residents of four or five other countries, including Lithuania, Austria, Estonia and the Czech Republic. But this is a distortion of reality, Archpriest Aleksii Moroz says.

            These results significantly understate the real levels of alcohol consumption in Russia, the longtime head of the Moscow Anti-Narcotics Center says, noting that “Russian experts have other data according to which alcohol consumption in Russia is now more than 18 liters per capita” (

            Even more seriously since those figures are for the country as a whole and include Muslim regions where alcohol consumption is much lower than average, “in certain regions,” presumably those populated predominantly by ethnic Russians, alcohol consumption now “exceeds 25 to 30 liters” per capita per year and sometimes approaches 52 liters.”

            That last figure works out to one liter of pure alcohol per week – or, depending on strength, two to four bottles of vodka per week for every man, woman and child living there. Such levels are not found anywhere else and are five times higher than the figure the World Health Organization says imposes genetic damage on the population.

            “Before us,” Moroz continues, is “a horrific picture which testifies to the alcoholic genocide of the Russian nation and the self-destruction of the Russian people.” But the fact that foreign institutions are understating the problem is of perhaps equal concern because, he suggests, “it is an ideological diversion” intended to weaken Russian vigilance.

            Those who prepare these reports, he says, “are trying to introduce the idea that in [Russia] everything is in order, that people are not dying from alcoholism and that we are not threatened by an alcohol genocide” and in this way “to distract attention from a horrific problem – the alcoholization of the population of Russia.”

            Having worked in this field for more than 30 years, Moroz says, he has sign the growth of alcoholization of Russians and the increasing consumption of alcohol among ever younger people. Now, it is not just vodka but “bear alcoholism, especially among the young” which threatens Russia. Some children as young as seven are no drinking alcohol regularly.

            In Soviet times, alcohol was defined by law as a poison, but in the early 1990s, thanks to the work of what he calls “the alcohol mafia,” that characterization was dropped, allowing for a dramatic increase in per capita alcohol consumption.  And those young Russians who drink and smoke are 160 times more likely to become drug addicts than those who do.

            “And so it is clear that the alcoholization of Russia is proceeding at accccelerating tempos which become worse in crisis periods like today,” Moroz says. That needs to be recognized and fought, and Russians must not be diverted from doing so by false data put out by international organizations.

            There are many interesting aspects to his argument, but at least one should not pass without being recorded separately: This is a very rare if not unprecedented instance of a Russian complaining that the West has put too positive a spin on Russian developments as part of an effort to “destroy the Russian nation.”

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