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Fighting alcoholism in pre-revolutionary Russia

  • The main stages of the fight against alcoholism in the USSR

  • "There is hardly another social-hygienic problem that could study so much and for so long, for which there was so rich world literature, about which would have developed such an active propaganda, which was written so many brochures, articles, appeals, was going to be so many meetings would be held in the lives of so many experiments mass character...",- wrote about alcoholism well-known specialist in social hygiene A. Century mol'kov (1926). In the statement reflected the complexity of the problems of the struggle with alcoholism. It is necessary to study not only the current state of the problem, but the historical experience of struggle with alcoholism.
    Widespread alcoholism in Russia, great harm to their health, have led the people in the middle of the XIX century to natural movement for sobriety. In 1858-1859, among the peasants Saratov, Penza, Vladimir and Tver provinces emerged informal temperance societies. However, deprived of the organization and not supported by the state, it is a spontaneous movement for sobriety quickly stalled.
    For the first time in Russia the temperance Union was formally established in 1874 in the village Deikalivka Poltava province, and in 1882 in the village Tataeva Smolensk province emerged "consent" sobriety. By 1900, in Russia there were 15 urban societies sobriety, about 140 parish in rural areas and about 10 factory and factory societies. In addition, it was 35 Estonian, Latvian 10 and 10 of the Finnish societies of sobriety. The largest in Russia "Moscow society of sobriety", organized in 1895, in 1910 had 434 member.
    Famous Moscow neurologist A. M. Korovin, took an active part in the creation of societies of sobriety, in the brochure "the Goals and tasks of sobriety societies" (1903) proved the necessity of creation of such societies, set out the immediate tasks, character of activity, procedure of development and approval of its Charter. However, the society for the most part had the statutes approved by the local bishops.
    The society existed on funds received from annual contributions from its members, or on donations. They had tea and dinner, where tea and food costs were cheaper than in regular institutions, visitors were Newspapers and magazines, and sometimes a small library with delivery of books at home. The society held a special reading and talking about the dangers of drinking, handing out leaflets and brochures. In Russia, was published several monthly magazines, dedicated to the issues of struggle with alcoholism: "Worker", "the Bulletin of sobriety" and "people's sobriety".
    The tsarist government, economically and politically interested in the alcoholization of the population was forced to mask this interest visibility of the fight against drunkenness. This was expressed in the publication of various laws mainly punitive measures and had essentially the egregious nature.
    Opening of the reaction is the sense of the policy of tsarism in the period of serfdom in Russia, K. Marx pointed out that the tsarist government punished as a crime any attempt to raise the cultural level of the people. "It is enough for you just to remind you wrote K. Marx,about the government's crackdown societies of sobriety, which sought to rescue the Muscovite from what Feuerbach calls material substance of his religion, that is, from vodka"
    The hypocrisy of the tsarist policy to combat drunkenness is very evident in the activities of the wards of people's sobriety, which were established in Russia on the initiative of the Ministry of Finance together with the introduction of liquor monopoly. The composition of the province (district) committees wards included senior officials: Governor (Chairman), managing excise duties, the control chambers (control, state property, state-owned), and other Composition of the committees eloquently showed that any public control over the consumption of alcohol, the people could not be and speeches. These custody, the content of which was spent large sums of money, not given and could not give a positive result in the struggle against drunkenness in tsarist Russia.
    To read a lecture on the dangers of alcohol or to arrange a meeting, temperance Union had to obtain special permission of the Trustee of the school district and the Governor. By decree of the Senate (October 12, 1905) were approved the rules on public assemblies, according to which persons who wished to set up a meeting, should submit this to the police, the chief of police or relevant official request no later than 3 days before the event. The official, who was referred to the statement, was appointed officer as its representative for supervision.
    Criticizing guardianship of people's sobriety, many representatives of the progressive Russian intelligentsia believed that the basis of their organization were immediately put a false start: "the Lack of public element, purely governmental nature of these institutions constitute the most disadvantageous for the business side of the organization of the fight against drunkenness by these new institutions". All this led to the fact that temperance societies quickly broke up. Such failures undermined faith in the possibility of a real fight against drunkenness and alcoholism.