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“DO YOU DRINK VODKA?” Cross-cultural aspect of drinking culture in Australia and Russia and its social implications

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“DO YOU DRINK VODKA?” Cross-cultural aspect of drinking culture in Australia and Russia and its social implications. Presented by Dr Irina Vasilenko PhD, Victoria University Project Officer Reducing Binge Drinking in Russian/Slavic Communities Project .

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“DO YOU DRINK VODKA?” Cross-cultural aspect of drinking culturein Australia and Russia and its social implications

Presented by

Dr Irina Vasilenko

PhD, Victoria University

Project Officer

Reducing Binge Drinking in Russian/Slavic Communities Project

Russian Ethnic Representatives Council of Victoria

118 Greeves Street Fitzroy 3065 VIC

[email protected]

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The liberalisation of Victorian alcohol policy: Implications for

alcohol-related harm, 2009

Michael Livingston research funded by the Alcohol Education and Rehabilitation Foundation presented at Alcohol Turning Point Seminar, 18 August,2009

implications for alcohol related harm
Trends in consumption and harm: Victoria, 2009

Michael Livingston research funded by the Alcohol Education and Rehabilitation Foundation presented at Alcohol Turning Point Seminar, 18 August,2009

Implications foralcohol-related harm

michael livingston s study concludes
 Deregulation of liquor licensing through the 1980s

and 1990s has resulted in a substantial increase in

alcohol availability

 These increases have occurred concurrently with

substantial increases in state-wide harm

 Specific studies have demonstrated links between

alcohol outlet density and violence in Victoria in the

last decade

Michael Livingston’s Study Concludes
is alcohol a part of russian culture
Russian Background

Responders Perception

  • Yes – 30%
  • No different to

Other culture – 58%

  • No – 11%

“Outsider” non Russian Background Perception

99% Yes

Is alcohol a part of Russian culture?
percentage of association
Percentage of Association

vodka 35%

Moscow 20%

KGB 15%

Natasha 8%

communism 7%

babushka 6%

others 9%

Reducing Binge Drinking in Russian/Slavic Communities Project,

RERC, 2009

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Ancient Russian culture was not alcohol consuming culture: Honey drink and kvas were common popular drink for all occasions in Russia at the time
  • Bread wine was first brought to Russia by Genoese merchants on their way to Lithuania in 1386 and presented to Prince Dmitry Ivanovich, called Donskoy for his victory over the Mongol-Tartar army on the Kulikovo Field by the River Don.
  • However, Russian ancestors were not much impressed with this distilled fermented grape juice. Mead drink and kvas were more popular in Russia at the time. The wine or beer was forbidden for import to Russia
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Ancestor of vodka “Aqua Vita” (Latin for “water of life”) first brought to Russia by Genoese merchants on their way to Lithuania in 1429 as a cure and “medicine against all illnesses”
  • As monasteries throughout Europe were then at the forefront of scientific knowledge, and the production of alcohol, it seems logical that the first batch of vodka was distilled in Chudovuy Monastery located on the Moscow’s Kremlin territory by a Russian monk called Isidor
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In 1474 - first Tzar’s Monopoly Decree about vodka retailing
  • In 1553 – first mentioned of “vodka” was recorded in Russian officials historical annals
  • in 1581, chemists allow to produce and sell vodka

Ivan the Horrible reveals the order as «State has the solely right to sell простое вино», «вино доброе», «вино боярское» only in owned by tzars’ tractirs (calling kabaks them «Russian taverns».

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in 1719 Peter the Great, liberalized the State monopoly on the vodka production and force nation towards the next level of drinking – vodka as a form of payment or awards
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During his chemical experiment, Professor Mendeleev opened how to produce 47% vodka
  • As a result in 1894-1896 the national standard for vodka was established and the state monopoly on vodka that gradually spread all over the country was introduced
  • This boosted vodka consumption in 4 times
outcomes of russian state approach towards pushing alcohol consumption
1913 - В 1913 г.Russia consumed

2 000 000 000 bottles of vodka.

If give away 4 bottles to one European citizen, 314 304 000 bottles will be left.

Outcomes of Russian State approach towards pushing alcohol consumption
prohibition measures vodka rules the country
The prohibition measures that were first introduced during the war with Japan of 1904-1905 are alone worth a separate detailed story.
  • There is also the «prohibition law» introduced by the government of the Russian Empire on August 2, 1914 and officially cancelled by the Soviet government only in 1925.
  • It is notable that the above mentioned monopoly on vodka led to a certain decrease in the number of alcoholics (a number that was quite scary in the beginning of the 20th century).
  • To a great extent this decrease was influenced by the regulations for selling vodka - in many regions vodka could be sold only before 8 p.m. However, this limitation did not work in St. Petersburg and Moscow.
Prohibition Measures: Vodka rules the country
drinking culture in international retrospect comparative analysis 2008
Russians report 67 drinking sessions per year
  • Chechz report 179 drinking sessions per year

But

Russians drank the highest dose of alcohol per drinking session

Drinking Culture in International retrospect: Comparative Analysis, 2008
why is the russian way of drinki n g dangerous
Binge drinking is the most detrimental pattern of drinking and is linked with illness and premature death in Russian and Ukrainian men
  • Serious social implications outside of home country
Why is the Russian way of drinking dangerous?
alcohol and death
Binge drinking is the most detrimental pattern of drinking and is linked with illness and premature death in Russian menAlcohol and Death
vodka drinking as cultural heritage component
58% drink vodka to prove their Russian background
  • 25% prefer vodka to other alcohol drinks as “health, pure drink”
  • 5% to keep company
  • 2% others
Vodka Drinking as Cultural Heritage Component ?

Drinking vodka is a result of STATE’s forceful attempt at any period of time to enslave Russians in order to enrich the state in-power forces

social implication of alcohol consumption for rusian speaking youth in australia 15 24 y o
95 % of the young people between 15-18 y.o. do not see alcohol as a drug
  • 45% of them already tested and use alcohol on “special occasions”
  • 12% drink alcohol when “bored”
  • 98% agree that alcohol should be a part of the special occasions (family gatherings, birthdays, sporting events, ext.)
Social Implication of Alcohol Consumption for Rusian Speaking Youth in Australia 15-24 y.o.
alcohol is a drug too say no to drug
Educating
  • Preventing
  • Counseling
  • Networking
  • Connectedness
  • Informing
Alcohol is a drug too. Say “NO” to drug
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