Thursday, April 12, 2007

A Strange Dichotomy in Russia

Hi, this is Randolph. I'm a follower of socioeconomic climate; that is I like to follow how social mood in a culture reflects on its economy.

I happened upon two articles by way of my in box. Here's a concatenation of one story that tells of a problem with alcoholism due to business conditions in Russia:

Russians' consumption of alcohol has tripled since the fall of the Soviet Union, with the average person drinking the equivalent of 34 liters of vodka a year, new figures show. According to the
figures for 2005, Russia has about 2,348,567 registered alcoholics. Alexsander Nemtsov, an alcohol expert at Moscow's psychiatric research institute, told the newspaper Isvestiya,
"Every third death in this country is the direct or indirect result of alcohol consumption." In Russia alcohol is being linked to 72% of murders, 42% of suicides and 52.6% of traumatic
accidents. The WHO rates the country as one of the most alcoholic in the world. Each year Russia loses 500,000 to 750,000 people through alcohol, to huge economic social and cultural cost.

Luke Harding, Guardian

Please notice when reading the article in detail, quote, 'Alexey Christyakov, a leading narcologist at Moscow's Alco-Med Centre, said: "The main cause of alcoholism is that over the last 16 years Russia has gone through a revolution ... many people have seen the foundations of their lives disappear. They haven't been able to find a new one."'

Let's assume that those foundations are economic in nature. What other reasons are there to turn to alcoholism? Because there's a lack of government support due to lack of communism? If so, this problem of alcoholism must only apply to certain classes of people, mainly lower class who depended on that support. How are the upper classes getting along then?

This is what I find slighly confusing due to the next article:

Grain prices in Russia to be stable this year

MOSCOW, April 12 (Itar-Tass) -- Grain prices in Russia will be stable this year, Alexei Gordeyev, the Russian agriculture minister, told chiefs of regional trade union organizations of the agro-industrial complex on Thursday.

“Grain prices are expected to be stable in view of the fact that the grain harvest will not be very large this year,” the minister said. He believes, “This is connected not only with the weather but also with some historic dependency.” “As a rule, we have a lean year in Russia once in seven years, and there has been no such year over eight years now,” Gordeyev said. “Late in April we are going to come up with an initial grain harvest forecast,” he added.

At the same time the agriculture minister noted, “Because of the growth of the output of livestock breeding there will be a need for extra 3 million tonnes of fodder grain.” Also, the minister believes, ”Grain prices will be growing in the years ahead with the development of bioenergetics in the world and the growth of biofuel production.” “We will have a good chance in this sense,” he said.

OK, with all this steady growth in technological developments in Russia, what exactly is the driving force behind this psycho-social plunge in mood? I'm having trouble understanding. I know that grains are used to make all kinds of liquor. I know of one slightly fermented drink that's really delicious; I think it's called Kavas. It's like a non-alcoholic beer, but it's sweet.

These drinks are imported to the U.S. as well as other delicious treats. Surely, there must be all kinds of jobs in Russia, even for the blue collars in packaging and shipping. Obviously, I need to dig a little deeper into the source of this problem, so I'm going to ask a friend of mine who happens to keep up with Russian news and events. Perhaps, he will enlighten me if noone else does.

I'll be back with more. Meanwhile, here's a link with info on how to help treat alcoholics,
Alcoholism Treatment Protocol: Orthomolecular Medicine.

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