One of the most prominent Russian traditions is heavy drinking. Peter the Great was famous for his drinking exhibitions. If you have read ‘Khrushchev Remembers’, you cannot forget his descriptions of Stalin’s long nightly drinking bouts.
Russian winters are long and cold. The Soviet government always kept vodka relatively cheap.
Lynn Visson’s “Wedded Strangers” discusses the reason for Russian cultural attachment to alcohol:
“For years, alcohol was the only form of entertainment. Russians are very reverent toward drinking and drunks. There is a tenderness and even affection that sober Russians have toward their intoxicated brethren.”
Refusing to drink as much as the rest of the company is considered disrespectful.
The more you can drink and hold your liquor, the more the Russians will hold you in high regard. Drinking alone is considered alcoholic. Drinking in company, even to excess, is considered normal behavior.
Russians always have a reason to drink. … Read More