Vodka is considered to be the national hero by all layers of the Russian population
People often live under illusions. They can be absolutely harmless and extremely dangerous illusions. At times, illusions can lead to disastrous consequences. A whole nation or race can be mistaken. For example, when Indians thought that white people wanted to trade mirrors and beads with them, they were absolutely wrong to think so. The illusion eventually resulted in the extermination of the race.
Illusions on the level of ethnic groups can be extremely dangerous to their own existence. Russians have their own national illusions. It is generally believed that the Russian vodka is the heart and soul of the nation, the national treasure. One may say that there is the vodka cult in Russia. Small boys dream to grow and start drinking vodka, teenage boys will not become men if they do not drink vodka, adult men do not work without a shot of vodka. The male population of Russian villages and small towns has been virtually exterminated without wars. Alcoholic parents give birth to sick and stupid children and the next generation reproduces a generation of invalids.
However, vodka is considered to be a national hero for all layers of the Russian population. There are numerous jokes and fun stories about the strong drink, for example: "Why do you drink vodka? - We drink vodka because it is liquid. If it were solid, we would eat it." Russian directors make movies about vodka, and sculptor Ernest Neizvestny is intended to build a monument to vodka in the town of Uglich.
Russian people are drawn to worship their tyrants, but the attitude to foreign aggressors is absolutely different. There is a saying: "If you come to us with a sword, you will be killed with the sword." However, if a Russian tyrant exterminates his own nation, people put him on a pedestal. Comrade Stalin has exterminated 20 million Russians, but people loved and worshipped him.
Vodka has killed a lot more people, that is why it is practically impossible to find its enemies among Russians. Afghan guerrillas have killed 13,000 Soviet military men during eight years of the Afghan war. However, drunk Russian drivers can achieve this level only in six months. About 13,000 people die in "drunk" car accidents every six months in Russia, which makes two wartime Afghanistans a year. Russia's enemies would have to wage war for a hundred years to cause the damage that Russians cause to themselves on yearly basis.
Like any other cult, the cult of vodka is maintained with legends. The first one of them says that vodka has been the nation's inseparable part for centuries. This is not true. Vodka as a strong alcoholic beverage appeared only in the middle of the 19th century. Ancient Russians used to drink mead and the drink now known as beer. Various alcoholic drinks produce various effects of the alcoholic intoxication. The effect of champagne is very light - it eases the mind. A bottle of beer produces the good-nature effect. Vodka is a lot more dangerous in this respect: several shots of the drink result in stubbornness and aggressiveness. The consumption of vodka in the scale of several generations of the Russian nation changes the national mindset. Russian peasants were inventive and hardworking people. Modern people are completely different. One may see drunkards in the streets early in the morning. Sober people are the minority in public places on Friday nights.
Another legend says that drinking alcohol is absolutely normal for a Russian person. This is definitely not normal. A drinking man is an enemy to himself and to his family. Russians are a small nation - less than one percent of the Earth's population. That is why, if Russian people destroy their own gene bank, they will gradually mix up with other nations.
Another legend says that all other people drink too. A lot of Russian men say that they do not drink vodka, although they have a couple of shots on practically all holidays. Russian men die of cardiovascular diseases at their young age, their children die in absurd car accidents.
It is useless to struggle with alcohol drinks or tobacco smoking with the help of Healthcare Ministry's warnings written on bottles and cigarette packs. This method does not work at all. There is no use in making restrictive laws. One has to change the point of view on the problem, the public perception of it. Hard drinking must become shameful for everyone. The damage to the gene bank of the nation is a very serious matter, that is why there should be strict prohibitions introduced to avoid it. The experience of 1985 shows that a governmental attack against the alcohol industry can only exacerbate the situation. The resistance is to take a lot of time. The first stage is to last for 10 or 15 years: the drinking essence is supposed to change from strong to weak alcoholic drinks - wine and beer. The state is weak and poor, officials are inefficient, that is why it is necessary to attract beer producers to the matter - private enterprising associates. They will manage to oust vodka kings within a short period of time. A great deal of vodka is produced illegally - it will not be hard for legal beer manufacturers to get rid of competitors. As a result of the process, vodka will become an expensive high-quality product. In 15-30 years, one will have to propagandize a lower consumption of beer. After that it will be possible to say that the alcoholic consumption has been stabilized on a nationally safe level. It takes a lot of time to defeat a strong enemy.
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