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Vodka Politics: Alcohol, Autocracy, and the…
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Vodka Politics: Alcohol, Autocracy, and the Secret History of the Russian… (Original 2014; 2016. Auflage)

von Mark Lawrence Schrad (Autor)

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Russia is famous for its vodka, and its culture of extreme intoxication. But just as vodka is central to the lives of many Russians, it is also central to understanding Russian history and politics. In Vodka Politics, Mark Lawrence Schrad argues that debilitating societal alcoholism is not hard-wired into Russians' genetic code, but rather their autocratic political system, which has long wielded vodka as a tool of statecraft. Through a series of historical investigations stretching from Ivan the Terrible through Vladimir Putin, Vodka Politics presents the secret history of the Russian state itself-a history that is drenched in liquor. Scrutinizing (rather than dismissing) the role of alcohol in Russian politics yields a more nuanced understanding of Russian history itself: from palace intrigues under the tsars to the drunken antics of Soviet and post-Soviet leadership, vodka is there in abundance. Beyond vivid anecdotes, Schrad scours original documents and archival evidence to answer provocative historical questions. How have Russia's rulers used alcohol to solidify their autocratic rule? What role did alcohol play in tsarist coups? Was Nicholas II's ill-fated prohibition a catalyst for the Bolshevik Revolution? Could the Soviet Union have become a world power without liquor? How did vodka politics contribute to the collapse of both communism and public health in the 1990s? How can the Kremlin overcome vodka's hurdles to produce greater social well-being, prosperity, and democracy into the future? Viewing Russian history through the bottom of the vodka bottle helps us to understand why the "liquor question" remains important to Russian high politics even today-almost a century after the issue had been put to bed in most every other modern state. Indeed, recognizing and confronting vodka's devastating political legacies may be the greatest political challenge for this generation of Russia's leadership, as well as the next.… (mehr)
Mitglied:Andrew_Molboski
Titel:Vodka Politics: Alcohol, Autocracy, and the Secret History of the Russian State
Autoren:Mark Lawrence Schrad (Autor)
Info:Oxford University Press (2016), Edition: Reprint, 528 pages
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Vodka Politics: Alcohol, Autocracy, and the Secret History of the Russian State von Mark Lawrence Schrad (2014)

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Vodka Politics by its name promises to be fun and delivers with stories of hard drinking Ruskies. But it's also a well written work of history with a thesis: vodka has been used for political purposes in Russia since at least the 16th century as a means of raising money by debauching the population with alcohol. In short, the state has been a drug pusher. Vodka is not merely a Russian folk tradition it's central to authoritarian control of the population, keeping the people poor and addicted.

The consequences have been severe creating an ongoing publoc health crisis. The average Russian man drinks half a liter of vodka a day, more than twice what the WHO considers dangerous. The population is in decline, the average height is shrinking, domestic abuse, crime, highway accidents, etc.. vodka is behind it all. Despite the evidence the Russian state takes no measures. Until recently, vodka bottles didn't come with screw on tops because the whole bottle would be drunk once opened. It's widely said by state officials that beer and wine is more dangerous than vodka, because most of those are imported and would infringe on vodka revenue. So beer is taxed 200% and vodka taxed very little. Previous attempts to reduce vodka consumption by raising prices have not gone well due to bootleg moonshine. But there are proven methods in other countries that would work to ween Russians off the bottle, but it seems unlikely Putin will do so because he needs the revenue and to keep the population comfortably sloshed. ( )
  Stbalbach | Sep 12, 2017 |
It's an interesting premise but I think the author takes it too far. Vodka has obviously played a role in Russian politics because of the government monopoly ( and anyone who has studied the Yeltsin years knows that they have had their fair share of drunk leaders). However, alcohol is not the only reason why Russia had more problems economically after shock therapy than Poland ( for just one example). It was interesting and easy to read - just remember it is only one take on this capricious country's political history! ( )
  cygnet81 | Jan 17, 2016 |
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Russia is famous for its vodka, and its culture of extreme intoxication. But just as vodka is central to the lives of many Russians, it is also central to understanding Russian history and politics. In Vodka Politics, Mark Lawrence Schrad argues that debilitating societal alcoholism is not hard-wired into Russians' genetic code, but rather their autocratic political system, which has long wielded vodka as a tool of statecraft. Through a series of historical investigations stretching from Ivan the Terrible through Vladimir Putin, Vodka Politics presents the secret history of the Russian state itself-a history that is drenched in liquor. Scrutinizing (rather than dismissing) the role of alcohol in Russian politics yields a more nuanced understanding of Russian history itself: from palace intrigues under the tsars to the drunken antics of Soviet and post-Soviet leadership, vodka is there in abundance. Beyond vivid anecdotes, Schrad scours original documents and archival evidence to answer provocative historical questions. How have Russia's rulers used alcohol to solidify their autocratic rule? What role did alcohol play in tsarist coups? Was Nicholas II's ill-fated prohibition a catalyst for the Bolshevik Revolution? Could the Soviet Union have become a world power without liquor? How did vodka politics contribute to the collapse of both communism and public health in the 1990s? How can the Kremlin overcome vodka's hurdles to produce greater social well-being, prosperity, and democracy into the future? Viewing Russian history through the bottom of the vodka bottle helps us to understand why the "liquor question" remains important to Russian high politics even today-almost a century after the issue had been put to bed in most every other modern state. Indeed, recognizing and confronting vodka's devastating political legacies may be the greatest political challenge for this generation of Russia's leadership, as well as the next.

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