Staunton, Sept. 11 – For Russians, September 11 is the day on which two holidays related to drinking coincide, the first being the start in 1911 of the promotion of sobriety by the imperial authorities and the second tracing its origin to 1943 when a Soviet factory began producing faceted glasses for tea drinking, Svetlana Saltanova says.
The HSE researcher and publicist says neither holiday achieved its aim of reducing the amount of alcohol Russians consume; and this year, because the two come on a Saturday, there is likely to be even more alcohol consumed in the Russian Federation than on either of these somewhat less than prominent holidays (iq.hse.ru/news/501056496.html).
To mark the occasion, Saltanova offers five sets of “scientific” data about alcohol in Russia collected by scholars at the Higher School of Economics:
· First, “in Russia, men drink most of all between the ages of 40 and 50 and women at 40,” setting Russia part from Western countries where the biggest drinkers are students who are breaking away from parental control.
· Second, research shows that neurotics are far more likely to take to drink than those who are more conscientious and hardworking.
· Third, each generation of Russians “struggles with alcohol dependence in its own way.” Older people may be influenced by propaganda campaigns, but younger people who drink are likely to fight back more actively if that is the only method used.
· Fourth, Russian regions vary widely in the amount of alcohol consumed per capita per year, from almost none in Muslim majority republics to as much as 21 liters per capita per year in predominantly ethnic Russian areas. The latter included unregistered alcohol but not surrogates.
· And fifth, the Soviet struggle against high levels of vodka consumption have had the consequence of making Russians more likely to drink beer. Indeed, Soviet propagandists often promoted beer as an everyday drink to try to wean Russians off of vodka.