Daily Archives: June 16, 2007

June 16, 2007 — Contents


NOTE: For the second time in less than a year, La Russophobe is proud to fly the Jack over this blog as a token of gratitude to the heroic Britons who have once again saved America’s bacon from the threat of radical Islam. Jolly good show old beans! With friends like these, who needs any other friends?!

SATURDAY JUNE 16 CONTENTS


(1) In “Wealthy” Russia, Russians Still Drink Aftershave and Perish En Masse

(2) Neo-Soviet Economics: Fact and Illusion

(3) Another Day, Another Humiliating Failure for Putin’s Russia

(4) Neo-Soviet Spite Knows no Bounds

(5) If you Bet Your Money on Russia, You’re an Imbecile

NOTE: Due to a technical issue beyond our control, we think it’s possible a few of yesterday’s comments did not appear under the posts they were intended for (though we could be wrong). If your comment is not where it should be, feel free to copy and paste it into the correct spot. We apologize for any incovenience. If any were accidently deleted, we doubly apologize.

Annals of Russian Self-Destruction: In "Wealthy" Putin’s Russia, They’re still Reduced to Drinking Aftershave

MSNBC reports:

Drinking alcohol not meant for consumption such as cologne and antiseptics may be responsible for nearly half of all deaths among working-age men in Russia, according to a study published Friday in The Lancet. “It’s an astounding finding,” said Sir Richard Peto, a professor of medical statistics and epidemiology at Oxford University who was not connected to the study. While the scientists limited their research to the Russian city of Izhevsk, experts suspect the community is probably not atypical. “Evidence is emerging from other areas to suggest this is a nationwide problem,” Peto said.

The research suggests that despite Russia’s economic resurgence in the past decade, it still faces staggering social and health problems, especially in provincial areas far from Moscow and St. Petersburg.

Dr. David Leon of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and colleagues looked at all the deaths of men aged 25-54 in Izhevsk, a city in the Urals, from 2003 to 2005. They also interviewed the men’s close relatives to determine contributing factors, such as their health status, drinking habits and socio-economic class. Leon and his colleagues concluded that 43 percent of those deaths were caused by hazardous drinking.

‘Surrogate’ alcohols

Price and accessibility are major factors in the popularity of drinking cologne and other so-called “surrogate” alcohols. They cost a fraction of what vodka costs, and are available in the ubiquitous kiosks and pharmacies on Russian streets. The products also typically contain as much as 97 percent ethanol — compared with the 43 percent in Russian vodka.

Smoking and lower levels of education were both associated with markers of problem drinking. But whether men drank hazardous alcohol was the most potent predictor of mortality, said Leon. Men who did so had an approximately six-fold increase in death compared with men who did not.

Alcoholism has long been thought to be linked to mortality in Russia. Death rates dropped sharply in the mid-1980s when former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev introduced anti-alcoholism campaigns. And in a society that has a word for continual drunkenness lasting more than two days — zapoi — experts say the findings underline Russia’s problem with alcohol.

To address the problem, experts recommend higher taxes for alcohol and stricter regulation of how ethanol is used in products not meant for consumption. Though Russia has taken steps to limit the use of alcohol in colognes, they have not addressed the use of ethanol in medicines. Combating rampant alcoholism in Russia also will require a sea change in social mores that will undoubtedly take years, experts say. “Banning surrogate alcohols doesn’t mean you’re suddenly going to get a population who are upright and sober,” Leon said. “But what you’ll get is a population that takes longer to kill themselves.”

Annals of Russian Self-Destruction: In "Wealthy" Putin’s Russia, They’re still Reduced to Drinking Aftershave

MSNBC reports:

Drinking alcohol not meant for consumption such as cologne and antiseptics may be responsible for nearly half of all deaths among working-age men in Russia, according to a study published Friday in The Lancet. “It’s an astounding finding,” said Sir Richard Peto, a professor of medical statistics and epidemiology at Oxford University who was not connected to the study. While the scientists limited their research to the Russian city of Izhevsk, experts suspect the community is probably not atypical. “Evidence is emerging from other areas to suggest this is a nationwide problem,” Peto said.

The research suggests that despite Russia’s economic resurgence in the past decade, it still faces staggering social and health problems, especially in provincial areas far from Moscow and St. Petersburg.

Dr. David Leon of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and colleagues looked at all the deaths of men aged 25-54 in Izhevsk, a city in the Urals, from 2003 to 2005. They also interviewed the men’s close relatives to determine contributing factors, such as their health status, drinking habits and socio-economic class. Leon and his colleagues concluded that 43 percent of those deaths were caused by hazardous drinking.

‘Surrogate’ alcohols

Price and accessibility are major factors in the popularity of drinking cologne and other so-called “surrogate” alcohols. They cost a fraction of what vodka costs, and are available in the ubiquitous kiosks and pharmacies on Russian streets. The products also typically contain as much as 97 percent ethanol — compared with the 43 percent in Russian vodka.

Smoking and lower levels of education were both associated with markers of problem drinking. But whether men drank hazardous alcohol was the most potent predictor of mortality, said Leon. Men who did so had an approximately six-fold increase in death compared with men who did not.

Alcoholism has long been thought to be linked to mortality in Russia. Death rates dropped sharply in the mid-1980s when former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev introduced anti-alcoholism campaigns. And in a society that has a word for continual drunkenness lasting more than two days — zapoi — experts say the findings underline Russia’s problem with alcohol.

To address the problem, experts recommend higher taxes for alcohol and stricter regulation of how ethanol is used in products not meant for consumption. Though Russia has taken steps to limit the use of alcohol in colognes, they have not addressed the use of ethanol in medicines. Combating rampant alcoholism in Russia also will require a sea change in social mores that will undoubtedly take years, experts say. “Banning surrogate alcohols doesn’t mean you’re suddenly going to get a population who are upright and sober,” Leon said. “But what you’ll get is a population that takes longer to kill themselves.”

Annals of Russian Self-Destruction: In "Wealthy" Putin’s Russia, They’re still Reduced to Drinking Aftershave

MSNBC reports:

Drinking alcohol not meant for consumption such as cologne and antiseptics may be responsible for nearly half of all deaths among working-age men in Russia, according to a study published Friday in The Lancet. “It’s an astounding finding,” said Sir Richard Peto, a professor of medical statistics and epidemiology at Oxford University who was not connected to the study. While the scientists limited their research to the Russian city of Izhevsk, experts suspect the community is probably not atypical. “Evidence is emerging from other areas to suggest this is a nationwide problem,” Peto said.

The research suggests that despite Russia’s economic resurgence in the past decade, it still faces staggering social and health problems, especially in provincial areas far from Moscow and St. Petersburg.

Dr. David Leon of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and colleagues looked at all the deaths of men aged 25-54 in Izhevsk, a city in the Urals, from 2003 to 2005. They also interviewed the men’s close relatives to determine contributing factors, such as their health status, drinking habits and socio-economic class. Leon and his colleagues concluded that 43 percent of those deaths were caused by hazardous drinking.

‘Surrogate’ alcohols

Price and accessibility are major factors in the popularity of drinking cologne and other so-called “surrogate” alcohols. They cost a fraction of what vodka costs, and are available in the ubiquitous kiosks and pharmacies on Russian streets. The products also typically contain as much as 97 percent ethanol — compared with the 43 percent in Russian vodka.

Smoking and lower levels of education were both associated with markers of problem drinking. But whether men drank hazardous alcohol was the most potent predictor of mortality, said Leon. Men who did so had an approximately six-fold increase in death compared with men who did not.

Alcoholism has long been thought to be linked to mortality in Russia. Death rates dropped sharply in the mid-1980s when former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev introduced anti-alcoholism campaigns. And in a society that has a word for continual drunkenness lasting more than two days — zapoi — experts say the findings underline Russia’s problem with alcohol.

To address the problem, experts recommend higher taxes for alcohol and stricter regulation of how ethanol is used in products not meant for consumption. Though Russia has taken steps to limit the use of alcohol in colognes, they have not addressed the use of ethanol in medicines. Combating rampant alcoholism in Russia also will require a sea change in social mores that will undoubtedly take years, experts say. “Banning surrogate alcohols doesn’t mean you’re suddenly going to get a population who are upright and sober,” Leon said. “But what you’ll get is a population that takes longer to kill themselves.”

Annals of Russian Self-Destruction: In "Wealthy" Putin’s Russia, They’re still Reduced to Drinking Aftershave

MSNBC reports:

Drinking alcohol not meant for consumption such as cologne and antiseptics may be responsible for nearly half of all deaths among working-age men in Russia, according to a study published Friday in The Lancet. “It’s an astounding finding,” said Sir Richard Peto, a professor of medical statistics and epidemiology at Oxford University who was not connected to the study. While the scientists limited their research to the Russian city of Izhevsk, experts suspect the community is probably not atypical. “Evidence is emerging from other areas to suggest this is a nationwide problem,” Peto said.

The research suggests that despite Russia’s economic resurgence in the past decade, it still faces staggering social and health problems, especially in provincial areas far from Moscow and St. Petersburg.

Dr. David Leon of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and colleagues looked at all the deaths of men aged 25-54 in Izhevsk, a city in the Urals, from 2003 to 2005. They also interviewed the men’s close relatives to determine contributing factors, such as their health status, drinking habits and socio-economic class. Leon and his colleagues concluded that 43 percent of those deaths were caused by hazardous drinking.

‘Surrogate’ alcohols

Price and accessibility are major factors in the popularity of drinking cologne and other so-called “surrogate” alcohols. They cost a fraction of what vodka costs, and are available in the ubiquitous kiosks and pharmacies on Russian streets. The products also typically contain as much as 97 percent ethanol — compared with the 43 percent in Russian vodka.

Smoking and lower levels of education were both associated with markers of problem drinking. But whether men drank hazardous alcohol was the most potent predictor of mortality, said Leon. Men who did so had an approximately six-fold increase in death compared with men who did not.

Alcoholism has long been thought to be linked to mortality in Russia. Death rates dropped sharply in the mid-1980s when former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev introduced anti-alcoholism campaigns. And in a society that has a word for continual drunkenness lasting more than two days — zapoi — experts say the findings underline Russia’s problem with alcohol.

To address the problem, experts recommend higher taxes for alcohol and stricter regulation of how ethanol is used in products not meant for consumption. Though Russia has taken steps to limit the use of alcohol in colognes, they have not addressed the use of ethanol in medicines. Combating rampant alcoholism in Russia also will require a sea change in social mores that will undoubtedly take years, experts say. “Banning surrogate alcohols doesn’t mean you’re suddenly going to get a population who are upright and sober,” Leon said. “But what you’ll get is a population that takes longer to kill themselves.”

Annals of Russian Self-Destruction: In "Wealthy" Putin’s Russia, They’re still Reduced to Drinking Aftershave

MSNBC reports:

Drinking alcohol not meant for consumption such as cologne and antiseptics may be responsible for nearly half of all deaths among working-age men in Russia, according to a study published Friday in The Lancet. “It’s an astounding finding,” said Sir Richard Peto, a professor of medical statistics and epidemiology at Oxford University who was not connected to the study. While the scientists limited their research to the Russian city of Izhevsk, experts suspect the community is probably not atypical. “Evidence is emerging from other areas to suggest this is a nationwide problem,” Peto said.

The research suggests that despite Russia’s economic resurgence in the past decade, it still faces staggering social and health problems, especially in provincial areas far from Moscow and St. Petersburg.

Dr. David Leon of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and colleagues looked at all the deaths of men aged 25-54 in Izhevsk, a city in the Urals, from 2003 to 2005. They also interviewed the men’s close relatives to determine contributing factors, such as their health status, drinking habits and socio-economic class. Leon and his colleagues concluded that 43 percent of those deaths were caused by hazardous drinking.

‘Surrogate’ alcohols

Price and accessibility are major factors in the popularity of drinking cologne and other so-called “surrogate” alcohols. They cost a fraction of what vodka costs, and are available in the ubiquitous kiosks and pharmacies on Russian streets. The products also typically contain as much as 97 percent ethanol — compared with the 43 percent in Russian vodka.

Smoking and lower levels of education were both associated with markers of problem drinking. But whether men drank hazardous alcohol was the most potent predictor of mortality, said Leon. Men who did so had an approximately six-fold increase in death compared with men who did not.

Alcoholism has long been thought to be linked to mortality in Russia. Death rates dropped sharply in the mid-1980s when former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev introduced anti-alcoholism campaigns. And in a society that has a word for continual drunkenness lasting more than two days — zapoi — experts say the findings underline Russia’s problem with alcohol.

To address the problem, experts recommend higher taxes for alcohol and stricter regulation of how ethanol is used in products not meant for consumption. Though Russia has taken steps to limit the use of alcohol in colognes, they have not addressed the use of ethanol in medicines. Combating rampant alcoholism in Russia also will require a sea change in social mores that will undoubtedly take years, experts say. “Banning surrogate alcohols doesn’t mean you’re suddenly going to get a population who are upright and sober,” Leon said. “But what you’ll get is a population that takes longer to kill themselves.”

Neo-Soviet Economics: Fact and Fiction

Bloomburg‘s recent status report on the Russian economy, with La Russophobe‘s running commentary:

Russia’s economy expanded in the first quarter at the fastest pace in six years as production of building materials and electronics increased. Gross domestic product grew an annual 7.9 percent in the first quarter, compared with 5 percent in the first quarter of last year, the State Statistics Service said on its web site Thursday. GDP figures are not seasonably adjusted in Russia. The economy, which expanded 6.7 percent last year, will probably advance 6.5 percent this year, according to the Economic Development and Trade Ministry’s forecasts. GDP may even grow 7 percent by the end of the year, Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Zhukov said Thursday, Interfax reported.

LR: So let’s see now. Growth this quarter was higher than last year, but growth for this year is projected to be lower than it was last year. Looks like Russia is in for a rough winter. And why is it that the West never remembers to report that this data is coming directly from the administration of a proud KGB spy and therefore has credibility issues (i.e., it’s a best-case scenario)? And why isn’t the puny per capita size of the Russian economy ever mentioned? Is it because the story would be less sensational if we knew that this growth translates into just pennies per Russian, far less money per person that would be produced by a much lower rate of growth in a real economy with a real base, like America’s for example? If so, shame on Bloomburg.

The growth, boosted by energy sales, has trickled down into the economy in the form of higher salaries in other industries and increased retail sales.

LR: In other words, it’s not actually economic growth at all, just the happenstance of rising energy prices. In other words, the very term “economic growth” is highly misleading where Russia is concerned.

Real wages surged 18.5 percent over the first four months of 2007, boosting average monthly wages to 12,510 rubles ($480), while retail sales jumped 13.4 percent in the first quarter, compared with 10.4 percent in the year-earlier period, according to the statistics service.

LR: Why is it that reports like this always fail to mention that a salary of $480 per month is a puny $3 per hour for a 160-hour work week (four 40-hour weeks). And that’s the AVERAGE wage, not the median. Median would mean that half the salaries are above that, half below. That data is never given. Average means that Russia’s relatively huge class of billionaires can inflate the figure for the vast class of working people far above what they actually earn. In fact, La Russophobe has never seen data for the median wage in Russia, and would love to be referred to it by some better-informed reader. Seems the Kremlin keeps it a closely-guarded secret. Notice too that the report doesn’t mention Russia’s crushing double-digit consumer price inflation the basic market basket of goods a $3/hour employee can afford. Without information like this, the hapless Westerner would think a salary increase of 18% means the same in Russia as it does in the west, and rush to invest in the Russian economy.

Milder temperatures gave a boost to industrial output, helping the economy expand faster, said Vladimir Tikhomirov, chief economist at UralSib. Industrial output increased 7.9 percent in the first quarter of the year, compared with 4.1 percent in the same period last year, according to the statistics service.

LR: So not only is the Russian economy dependent on the vagaries of the international markets for its survival, but also the weather? That’s not exactly a roadmap for stability. Why is it that Russia’s puny industrial base is never mentioned in reports like this, so that the per capita value of 7.9 percent growth can be seen? Then again, all you have to do is ask yourself when you’ve ever seen a Russian industrial product available for sale in your neighborhood (or, indeed, any Russian product of any kind) to understand how misleading this data really is.