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2 february 2014, of russian men

Sunday, February 2nd, 2014

Over 25% of russian men die before reaching 55, a signal cause of russia's declining population and highlighting of how its place in the "bric" pantheon is unsustainable, based as it is increasingly entirely on its temporary oil prowess. The function of studies is often to ramp up the basis for action on what we already know to be true. The fact that russia men who down large amounts of vodka die very young falls, at least for me, into that category. I know this to be true from my own experience, having spent quite a lot of time in different bits of russia in the 1990s and been astounded by the cultural propensity and capacity of russian men (and it was men) to drink vodka. It was a norm to have half a largish tumbler with lunch and dinner, before even getting to serious evening drinking, where two or three can easily get through a bottle. During seminars, when my western counterparts might have popped outside for a smoke, many of the russians would bring out the hip flask and have a vodka break. A favourite trick in saunas (of which we had many) was to pour vodka rather than water on the heat, which vaporises and leaves the uninitiated wildly drunk. And my company, I should quickly admit, were of the bourgeois, reasonable, educated population, far from those you would expect to be the worst in this respect (I saw no zapoi). And for me personally, I should quickly admit, I managed just one day of trying to keep up before realising I would be absolutely doomed even trying, for while I was under the table, my colleagues and friends were happily going about the demanding daily tasks we were pursuing, seemingly unaffected bar a wry sense of humour and abandon being rather more pronounced in what is a wonderful aspect of russian culture. Though I have a slav heritage myself (see 15 sept 2013, been a while) this bit of the self is, I suppose, nurture not nature.