15 Awesome Facts About Russia And Their Love For Vodka
When you think of Russia, almost without hesitation you think of vodka. Perhaps that’s a problem. But it’s a reality, as Russian fondness for the cool, clear booze is known throughout the world. Hell, even the bears there get smashed. So in honor of that icy landmass east of Europe, here are 15 facts about Russia and their love affair with vodka that’ll make you say “Nostrovia!”
1. Researchers estimate that the average Russian drinks nearly one bottle of vodka every two days.
2. After the Nazis surrendered to the Soviet Union on May 9, 1945, the Russians partied so hard the entire nation ran out of vodka.
3. According to legend, in the 10th century Vladimir the Great rejected Islam as a state religion because of its ban on vodka. He told the Muslim emissary who offered the idea, “Drinking is the joy of all Rus’. We cannot exist without its pleasure.”
4. Per capita, Russians drink twice as much alcohol as Americans. Step it up, guys.
5. In 2002, Russian writer Victor Erofeyev wrote about the effect of vodka on the people: “It seems to punch a hole directly into the subconscious, setting off a range of odd gestures and facial expressions. Some people wring their hands; some grin idiotically or snap their fingers; others sink into sullen silence. But no one, high or low, is left indifferent. More than by any political system, we are all held hostage by vodka.”
6. Peter the Great is rumored to have drank a half a gallon of vodka per day.
7. Every Russian soldier during World War II was given a ration of vodka per day (roughly a shot’s worth — but many saved their rations for special battles).
8. Twenty percent of Russians die due to alcohol-related causes, in comparison to 6.2 percent of men globally.
9. In 2012, two elephants were saved by vodka during a blistering freeze in Siberia. The elephants, which belonged to the Polish circus, “started roaring like they were in the jungle! Perhaps, they were happy,” said one official.
10. Russian Scientist Dmitry Mendeleev invented the periodic table of elements. He also invented the standard formula for vodka — 40 percent alcohol by volume.
11. In 1860, vodka was 40 percent of the government’s revenue.
12. In the coldest place in the world, Oymyakon, Russia, where the average winter temperature is -50 degrees Fahrenheit, locals refer to vodka as Russki chai (literally translated as Russian tea). It helps keep them warm.
13. The origin of the word vodka comes from the Russian “voda,” which means water.
14. According to Peter Baker of the Washington Post, “Many Russians ascribe medicinal, almost supernatural, qualities to vodka. Parents soak cotton balls in vodka and dab them on children to bring down a fever or ease an earache. Vodka with pepper is prescribed for an adult’s cold; vodka with salt for an upset stomach. Some nuclear scientists even drank it to protect themselves from radiation.”
15. Russia ranks no. 1 in the world in alcohol spending.