Sunday, November 29, 2009

Alcoholism in the Russian Federation

Professor Kowalski responds to Michael Kuznetsov, or rather to my response to Michael Kuznetsov as follows:

-----Original Message-----
From: ludwik kowalski
Sent: Sunday, November 29, 2009 7:13 PM
To: Lawrence Helm
Subject: Re: Further on Russia and the Communist Dream.

Thank you for showing the data, Lawrence.

1) Russian people deserve better. They will find a way to improve 
deplorable conditions.  But this will take time.

2) This thread reminded me that one of the first things that Gorbachev 
wanted to change, shortly before the disintegration of USSR, was 
widespread alcoholism. But he failed. The targeted population should 
had consisted of young children, not those who were already addicted.

3) How does alcoholism in Russia compare with alcoholism in China? I 
suspect alcoholism significantly  contributes to the present 
deplorable situation.


Checking out Professor Kowalski’s assertion, I found the following:

Yes, that is something I failed to address.  A “Russia-is-better-than-America” enthusiast has much more debris and detritus to deal with than an American – and probably the American doesn’t really bother with such arguments knowing that in most respects, no nation compares favorably to it. 
In regard to alcoholism, here is an article entitled “Russian Alcoholism amoung [sic] Highest in World.”  The report relates the high alcoholism rate to a high homicide rate.
And here is a recent article:,,4920893,00.html  entitled Medvedev in battle against Russian 'national disaster': alcoholism.”   The article includes the following:

“New studies suggest that the average Russian consumes some 18 liters (4.75 gallons) of pure alcohol per year. This is double the amount the World Health Organization considers harmful to one's health.           
“Russia has one of the highest rates of alcohol consumption in the world, and experts say this is a main reason for the relatively low life expectancy of Russians, especially Russian men. At present, a typical Russian man lives to the age of 57, which is three years lower than the retirement age.”



            I’m sure the Russian Federation has some good qualities – areas where the Russian Federation is superior to America, but I don’t think you hit upon them when you reference freedom to do what you like and the means to buy food. 
            If I understand Professor Kowalski’s tack, it is in the form of questioning why there are so many alcoholics in Russia if it is the superior nation that you imply.  That is not an issue that I ever considered before; so I’ll leave that up to him. 
            As for me, I view the Russian Federation as not recovered yet from the Communist experiment.  The Russian Federation hasn’t found its way yet, and it is much too soon to be saying, “hey look at us.”

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