Alcohol consumption in pre-revolutionary Russia

  • The consumption of alcoholic beverages in the USSR
  • The consumption of alcoholic beverages in pre-revolutionary Russia was relatively high and amounted in 1913 4,7 litres of absolute alcohol per capita [Gurevich 3. A., A. Zalewski 3., 1930]. The increase of alcohol consumption per capita to 1913 compared to 1906-1910, (PL. 4) occurred mainly at the expense of vodka (from 6 to 8.6 l).

    Alcohol consumption in Russia per capita, l
    Alcoholic drinks Years
    1906-1910 (average annual data) 1913
    Vodka 50 degrees
    Total (in recalculation on absolute alcohol) 3,4 4,7

    Comparison of per capita alcohol consumption per capita in a number of countries have allowed Russian researchers [Ozerov I. H., 1909; Dmitriev C. K., 1911; Kanel Century Ya, 1914] to conclude that the level of per capita consumption is still not a sufficient criterion for the distribution of alcoholism among the population. They attached importance to the ratio between expenditure on alcoholic beverages and per capita income and the nature of alcohol. In Russia used mainly vodka, which usually drank glasses, often without meals on an empty stomach. This caused very rapid intoxication and very often led to death "from opoy". 3. A. Gurevich, A. 3. Zalewski (1930) provide evidence that in France, where the consumption of alcoholic beverages was 7 times higher than in Russia, over 1 million people had 11,5 deaths from acute alcohol poisoning, and in Russia - 55.
    One of the most negative consequences of alcohol abuse in Russia was the spread of alcoholism among children and adolescents [Grigorev N. N., 1900; Korovin, A. M., 1908; Kanel Century Ya, 1914, and others].
    The consumption of alcoholic beverages in Russia was not uniform in the cities and villages. According to calculations Century I. Pokrovsky, for one adult had in the village of 18.4 liters of vodka in the cities -49,2 l, in the largest centers - 86,1 L.
    In 1914, due to the beginning of world war, the tsarist government was forced to ban the sale of alcohol. However, in the situation of deep-rooted alcoholic habits and in the absence of any struggle with alcoholism, public policy soldering people almost complete ban the sale of alcoholic beverages very soon revealed its inability. A number of the questionnaire surveys conducted Kharkiv, Poltava, Perm and other territories in the beginning of the ban, showed that the population in the first year of the ban widely begins to use different kinds of alcohol surrogates. The exhibition concerning the organization reasonable entertainment for the people in 1915, was quoted as exhibit a broad range of spirits (about 20 species), which are made of denatured alcohol, lacquer, varnish and Cologne. These products are freely sold on the market under special names "goody", "smoke", etc. Finally, the first household, and then everywhere in free sale, you receive a substitute vodka - the notorious Russian vodka.
    Having arisen in the village, distilling from year to year is becoming more and more common. From the village moonshine gradually penetrates into the city and his drinking is becoming commonplace. The consumption of alcoholic substitutes and moonshine culminates with the end of the civil war and the transition to a new economic policy.