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Tuesday, October 31, 2006

What's Worse in Russia: Drinking, or Lying about Drinking?

Last week the Kremlin admitted that Russia has 2 million alcoholics, that more than 40,000 Russians are killed each year by alcohol poisoning, according to the Kremlin's data, and it was reported that over the past three weeks 400 people have been hospitalized by alcohol poisoning in the region of Pskov alone, with 15 fatalities. Sound horrific? It would be anyplace other than Russia. In fact, though, this data likely underestimates Russia's problem by several orders of magnitude.

Indeed, the Kremlin's brazen dishonesty is perhaps an even greater problem than drinking. According to experts, "in an adult population where at least three-fourths are drinkers, about 6 percent of the total group are probably alcoholic." That means Russia must have over 6 million alcoholics as defined by Western standards (Russia's adult population is about 110 million), and Russia is one of the most severe abusers of alcohol in the world, so the actual share of its population that is afflicted is probably far greater. So either Russia is defining "alcoholic" in a way so extreme as to exclude two-thirds of the population, or it simply lying about the number. Either way, it's not suprising that the problem only gets worse. At the same time, it's perfectly possible that the government is simply incapable of determining what share of its population is afflicted, and just guessing. This kind of thing is what passes for "social policy" in Russia and explains why the population falls by up to 1 million each year.

The simple fact is that, being governed by a clan of proud KGB spies, not one single word the Kremlin utters can be taken at face value. This lack of credibilty alone is good enough reason to condemn the election of a proud KGB spy as president. Without basic information that is credible, it's impossible to establish a civilized, prosperous society.


Penny said...

By their own admission:

Russia is ranked 136 in the world rating of average men’s life expectancy, the Russian Healthcare and Social Development Ministry quoted by RBC said Wednesday. In the rating of women’s life expectancy, Russia occupies the 91 position.

In the past twelve years, from 1993 to 2005, the population of Russia contracted by four percent, or 5.8 million people. In 2005 the population contracted by 0.5 percent.

From my perch in psychiatry, alcoholism, besides its physical addiction, has a spiritual component which is why AA is more successful than other therapies. The numbers speak for themselves that Russia is a very dysfunctional country where depression and despair are significant. Communism utterly destroyed Russia.

La Russophobe said...

As I understand it, the first requirement for success of AA is to admit you have a problem and can't solve it yourself. It seems to me the Kremlin is directly frustrating this by (a) lying about the dimensions of the problem and (b) propagating an environment where it is tantamount to treason to accept help from foreigners and (c) stifling internal criticism including the crackdown on NGOs.

Penny said...

Hey, sweetie, you asked, you get> The 14 defining characteristics of fascim:
1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism
2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights
3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause
4. Supremacy of the Military
5. Rampant Sexism
6. Controlled Mass Media
7. Obsession with National Security
8. Religion and Government are Intertwined
9. Corporate Power is Protected
10. Labor Power is Suppressed
11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts
12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment
13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption
14. Fraudulent Elections

Or from a dictionary:

Main Entry: fas·cism
Pronunciation: 'fa-"shi-z&m also 'fa-"si-
Function: noun
Etymology: Italian fascismo, from fascio bundle, fasces, group, from Latin fascis bundle & fasces fasces
1 often capitalized : a political philosophy, movement, or regime (as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition
2 : a tendency toward or actual exercise of strong autocratic or dictatorial control.

Russia qualifies on almost every count.

Just what part of fascism, Putin's behavior, recent events in Russia and your own fascist attitudes do you not get?

If looks like a duck, walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it's probably a duck. But, perhaps that's too complicated for you.

Spare me your undereducated drivel. You're the perfect Nazi.

Penny said...

You are a liar. For starters, I never said Russians are animals. Nice try at twisting the truth. I compared Russian passivity to the behavior of sheep and geriatric zoo animals. I'll stand by that metaphor.

I called you a fascist. I'll stand by that one too. You aren't bright enough or educated enough to be a free thinking democratic person.