Putin’s recipe for a Russian disaster – cutting vodka prices and public transport at same time

Russian villagers

Russian villagers 

2015/02/02 • Russia

Vladimir Putin has clearly learned the lesson some of his predecessors did not: when times are tough, boosting alcohol prices is a good way to trigger a social explosion. But his decision to cut the price of the cheapest vodka — which goes into effect today — is a recipe for a longer term disaster.

And that is all the more so because it comes at exactly the same moment that thanks to the Kremlin leader’s policies and decisions, regions have run out of money to maintain the electric train routes on which many Russians outside of the cities rely. As a result, Russian Railways is ending service, and the regions and their people have no good way to compensate.

There has already been a great deal of discussion about the direct impact of cheaper vodka prices: they will lead both to greater consumption of hard liquor and they will also lead Russians to turn to surrogates which will now be harder to distinguish from “official” production.

Both of those things will have a negative impact on public health, driving up alcohol-related illnesses like diabetes and alcohol poisoning even as they keep an inebriated public from protesting against the policies of the Kremlin which increasingly appear directed against the Russian people.

And there has been some discussion of the budgetary shortfalls in the regions that are leading to an end to government-subsidized electric train service in many of them, a service that is often the only reliable link people outside of rural areas have to cities where they can gain access to many services, including pharmacies and hospitals.

Ending electric train service to rural areas is creating conditions which some Russian observers are already calling “a real genocide” of the Russian people. (See ‘A Real Genocide’ – Trains to Stop Running in Most Russian of Russia’s Regions  and Russian Regions Increasingly Hollowing Out Demographically, Statistics Show.)

But the coming together of these two policies, a reduction in the price of vodka and the end of rural train service, a development that will exacerbate public health more than either on its own has only begun to be the subject of concern – and first of all in Pskov oblast where the trains stopped running today.

To save money, the Pskov oblast authorities had already cut bus service to rural areas and ended the plowing of many roads outside of the cities, steps that cut off many rural residents from medical services and sent live expectancies in rural areas plummeting over the last two decades.

Indeed, the situation there is so dire already that as Vyacheslav Glazychev, a professor at the Moscow Institute of Architecture, has suggested, in five to seven years, there will only be four cities left in Pskov oblast “and nothing else.” The cities will be Pskov, Velikiye Luky, Pechora, and Dno because of its railway junction.

Putin’s latest twin decisions will only accelerate that trend: more than 12,000 Pskov residents are currently suffering from alcohol dependency of one kind or another. Many of them live in rural areas. They will now be able to get vodka for less, but they won’t be able to get into the cities for medical help. As a result, as local officials concede, many will die prematurely.

Edited by: A. N.

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  • Brent

    What a ‘troll’ move. This story is about Russia and it’s decline and you try to deflect it be posting a derogatory photos of Ukrainians.

    Here are pictures more suitable to the story, stooge boy…

    • J Edlund

      There’s absolutely no time for laughter.

    • evanlarkspur

      Frankly, Mixa, I’m impressed that you are able to keep laughing given the realities of your situation. Keep your chin up and keep trying to look on the bright side- Lord knows its gonna get a lot more difficult for you before it gets better. You and your kind always brag about how good Russians are at surviving and finding the deep reserves to get through tough times. Quite impressive, I’m sure, but everyone else in the civilized world realized some time ago that merely surviving wasn’t a triumph when so much more is attainable. So, we spend the same energy preventing the tough times that you waste just surviving them. Sadly, your endless downtrodden suffering seems to be the greatest height you can attain. But is that greatness?

      • evanlarkspur

        Perhaps you mean “quagmire?”

        • Dean Venture

          Russian troll strategy – when you run out of BS, revert to overt racism.

        • evanlarkspur

          So while your president murders thousands of innocent Ukrainians, destroys your economy through his ineptness, ruins important relationships that Russia desperately needs with every nation on the planet, makes sure that no one will trust you all again for decades, and sets in motion forces that will grind the Russian people back into poverty and despair for many, many years, the best you’ve got on my president is to imply he’s descended from monkeys? I’ll take the monkeys any day, thanks.

          • Doug Retter

            Putin has merely been getting Russians to dig their own graves. No sensible mind could believe Putin can prevail in his misadventures. They cry for their empire now; they are willing to eat garbage in order to build tanks. The Russians will suffer for their lack of morality and compassion toward others. Becareful what you wish for when you rejoice for war on others.

      • Dean Venture

        Exactly what I’ve been thinking whenever I hear the familiar refrain ‘Russians have put up with worse’.

        While the rest of the world is looking forward to a better life, Russia is focused on learning how to survive a poorer, in every respect, existence. What kind of ass-backwards vision is that?

        • evanlarkspur

          “It’s an Empire!” :)

      • Brent

        Maybe in Russia’s mind…..just like in your mind, you see yourself as funny, relevant and popular….here’s what we see

      • Doug Retter

        Russians will reap the same reward the German people reaped when they supported Hitler in his criminal ventures. They are bringing the whirlwind to their own doors. I hope they can keep laughing when it is their people who are suffering.

  • Milton Devonair

    putin knows that the best way to keep the apes of russian, well, a bunch of drunken russian apes is to lower the price of their cheap vodka…and also the radiator fluid they mix it with.

    And who says their head chimp doesn’t know his monkey troupe?

  • Olga Dora Garbar

    Putín no te cansas de matar tanta gente!!!! Ud. vive bien con el dinero del pueblo y…..su gente se mueren.- Eres un reverendo HP.-

  • Vlad Pufagtinenko

    Sooner they die the better

  • Doug Retter

    This is the first one you’ve gotten correct, Mixa! This really IS funny!!!

  • Brent

    You’ve got to crap? Well here’s what you should be using. That’s about all it’s worth anymore at 1.4 U.S PENNIES to the ‘rubble’

    Has your girlfriend started using the recommended beet root replacement for lipstick yet? Let’s check “HER” photo…..it’s kind of hard to tell with the flag in “HER” snout….

    • https://disqus.com/ Mixa

      A cock is valiant on his own
      dunghill.

    • evanlarkspur

      It’s just my opinion, but I think posting pictures like this is too much on “mixa”s level- it’s beneath our dignity to try to demean Russians with the same stuff Putinbots will post. Their posting such crap just shows their level, and we should show ours, too.

      Just my opinion.

  • Brent

    “sexpots”??? What do they get to wear lace panties that “Volya” banned in Russia? What are he and Medvedev going to wear to their secret trysts in Sochi???

    What kind of man are you that would support a leader that would ban lace panties? Seriously, that’s one of life’s great pleasures, seeing a woman in lace panties, and you morons now have to settle for burlap or granny panty cotton. If he outlaws b.j.’s, you should shoot yourself….