Nov 3, 2009

Vodka was, is, and ever shall be in Russia


As you know, our cuddly Medvezhonok decided to take on alcoholism, and God bless him for that. Recently, the New York Times went ahead and did the world a freaking service and translated a sweet site where everyday Russians have been giving their thoughts on fighting alcoholism. Let's see some of my favorites:

"For example, it’s hot, and you are thirsty: 0.5 liter of beer in a kiosk — 20 rubles; 1.5 liter — 40 rubles. Or juice: 0.25 liter — 30 rubles; 1 liter — 60 rubles. What will a student buy?” [So true! SO true! Been there...although I don't recall many "hot days"]

"I think there will come a time when Russians will reproach people in other Western countries — ‘You should drink less!’" [Ukraine is geographically west of Russia...]

"The reasons are obvious: it is easier to take wealth from a drunken people and sell it to the Chinese and to Europe." [I still have no idea what this even means, but I'm going to be a jerk and call it xenophobia]

[And where my title came from:] "For a Russian, alcohol is an extremely personal, and even intimate, thing. This is why no president or government can influence the relationship of ‘a Russian and his vodka.’ The joy of drinking has always existed in Russia, exists and will exist, irrespective of the size of the container, the time of the selling or any other stupid thing." [Amen]

45 comments:

Sublime Oblivion said...

"The reasons are obvious: it is easier to take wealth from a drunken people and sell it to the Chinese and to Europe." [I still have no idea what this even means, but I'm going to be a jerk and call it xenophobia]

--

This is an entirely rational and understandable argument implying that Russians are too apathetic and despondent (drunk) to stop the sale of its natural resources to Europe and China for make benefit of a few oligarchs. Instead of cutting this dependency and putting up oligarch heads on pikes, the oligarchs instead continuously betray Russia and prance about the world having 50k $ dinners in foreign restaurants.

Ern said...

Natural resources aren't necessarily the property of the people, nor is Russia supposed to be a communist state. Who's to say how that money should be spent? Whether state owned or not, it's not the people's wealth, it's the company's wealth or if state-owned, the state's wealth.

Sublime Oblivion said...

@Ern,

My judgment that the oligarchs' wealth and spending habits are obscene is of course normative, but one shared by the vast majority of Russians. As is the sentiment that natural resource wealth should be either be saved, invested into Russia's development, or used to improve the living standards of all Russians. Not thrown away into Abramovich's yachts.

Ern said...

That's the way it is in most countries. You think Exxon spends more than a fraction of a percentage of its profits on investing in renewable energy? Because they don't. Companies are out to make money. It's capitalism. And it doesn't give an entire population the right to abuse alcohol.

Combatting alcohol could literally start with small steps, like making it more expensive. And combatting corruption in law enforcement could help enforce basic laws.

Sublime Oblivion said...

Combating alcoholism does not preclude purging the oligarchs.

Leopolis said...

"This is an entirely rational and understandable argument implying that Russians are too apathetic and despondent (drunk) to stop the sale of its natural resources to Europe and China for make benefit of a few oligarchs."

You forgot to include the nine dollar billionaires in the Federation Council and another three in the Duma. Not to mention the dollar millionaires.

http://www.forbes.com/2008/03/28/russia-billionaires-duma-biz-cz_hb_0401russiapols.html

Certainly they, like the oligarchs, are not saving Russia's natural resource wealth or investing it into Russia's development, or using it to improve the living standards of all Russians.

Ern said...

it's not any businessman's responsibility to invest in the people of his country, and he's certainly not responsible for combatting alcoholism.

and it's not exporting goods that's ruining russia, it's rampant corruption.

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oh it is unbelievable.the site show how wine is acquainted with Russia's cutler.Combating alcoholism does not preclude purging the oligarchs.cheap cosmetics.

Sportspicks said...

That's the way it is in most countries. You think Exxon spends more than a fraction of a percentage of its profits on investing in renewable energy? Because they don't. Companies are out to make money. It's capitalism. And it doesn't give an entire population the right to abuse alcohol.

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Natural resources aren't necessarily the property of the people, nor is Russia supposed to be a communist state. Who's to say how that money should be spent? Whether state owned or not, it's not the people's wealth, it's the company's wealth or if state-owned, the state's wealth.

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