Do Russian men really drink a lot?Russian men have the reputation as hard drinkers, but is it true? Do Russian men really drink a lot?

What statistics tell us about drinking in Russia

Statistics on causes of death show that alcohol abuse is indeed a problem in Russia.

  • In 2016, over 56 thousand people died in Russia from consumption of alcoholic beverages, Rosstat reported. It’s 2.6 times more than victims of car accidents, in which 21 thousand people lost their lives.
  • 3 times more men than women die from external causes of death: 128 thousand males vs. 39 thousand females in 2016. Most of these are also linked to alcohol consumption leading to accidents or fights while under the influence.
  • However, it used to be worse. Since 2009 the number of alcohol poisoning cases dropped by 30%, Rospotrebnadzor stated in January 2017. The number of people who have been diagnosed with alcoholism dropped by 24% during the same period.
  • Alcohol consumption in Russia is over 10 liters per person yearly. In 2009 it was over 15 liters. World Health Organization states that any consumption over 8 liters per year is damaging to health.
  • According to 2014 survey by Public Opinion Fund, 31% of Russians do not drink alcohol (23% men and 37% women). 10% of them used to be drinkers but gave up. Most of these did it because it was affecting their health. 30% of people said they drink at home and 32% do it when visiting others; only 3% do it when they go out to restaurants, bars, or cafes. At the same time, 49% of respondents view people who abstain from alcohol positively. 68% of respondents know tea-totallers, although 28% of respondents said they didn’t know anyone who abstains from drinking.
  • Survey by Levada Centre dated 2017 indicated that 29% of Russians consider themselves tea-totallers and only 6% grab a glass of “happy juice” several times a week. 30% of respondents said they drink alcohol just once a month; 34% do it once or twice a month.
Deaths by major causes in Russia.

Data: GKS.ru (click to enlarge).

Opinions

Russian women say that there are men who don’t drink, however, for the majority of males booze is still the usual entertainment.

  • “If you do not drink, then you are a Hercules, Prometheus, such a fortitude of will power,” one woman commented.
  • Another lady considers drinking to be a “great Russian problem”. It is also quoted often as a reason for the high level of divorces.

Being of sober habits is a virtue in Russia. It’s one of the reasons why Slavic women admire western men. Sober habits definitely make life easier in a marriage.

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Nastyogre
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True, being sober makes better marriage. But I’d rather say, that ALL the women would prefer a crystally sober man over a drunkard, no matter if a woman is Slavic or not) As for forever-drunk-Russians, it’s all a matter of stereotype. People drink hopelessly when there’re no opportunities or potential, that you’d mostly see in Russia’s remote regions. In big cities people drink no more than anywhere else, both men and women.

Nadezhda
Guest

Traveling around the world I noted that the conclusion about Russians drinking a lot is no longer true. Possibly some kinds of behavior and national traits are provoking this judgment. It seems to be a myth like a snow bear in the center of Moscow)))

alenss
Guest

In my opinion, people of the older generation drink more than people of the younger generation. Also, it depends on the social class and some other factors. Intelligent, educated men usually don’t drink much, and hard liquors are not popular among them.

Alena
Guest

Yes, this is a great russian problem. Not just men’s but female’s also. When you see russian films people there drinks everywhere. Are you policeman or a doctor, it doesn’t matter. In the cities this problem is not so observed, but in villages this is terrible!

Milush
Guest

I think that there are a lot of nations in the world that drink a lot. Anyway Russia is a big country and the number of drinking people can be high. However I agree with alenss that it depends also on many factors and social class.Unfortunately very often all these points cause problems between spouses. But anyway only understanding and respect between them can be the beginning of a happy marriage life.

Krov
Guest

Well, I guess it depends on person’s education and culture. There are a lot of people in Russia who are unemployed and government does nothing to keep them busy. Some of them go abroad in order to change life for the better and some of them take it for granted. A lot of people from the last group spend their days drinking alcohol and wasting time. This is a sad tendency(

Eugene
Guest

In my view, alcoholism is a serious problem in Russia. Russia is one of the most heavily drinking countries in the world. Although the situation began to improve lately. People in my country have began to drink less than earlier, though people in some regions still drink a lot. This problem has not been resolved completely, but we can see some improvements.