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Today's Worlds > Ethnology

Vodka - National Product #1

A 59' documentary directed in 2007 by Alexei Khanyutin

Many people in the West have long held an idea of vodka as almost the major attribute of Russia, the Russians and the Russian way of life. Strange as it may seem, this popular foreign tourist cliché does not differ greatly from the ideas of the Russians themselves.

According to opinion polls people considering themselves Russian value vodka for its "simple-heartiness", "strength", its ability to "reveal the person´s inner self", in a word for helping them to stay Russian. It is interesting that the same words are used by many Russians to describe the major features of their national character.

In Russia vodka is indeed not a mere alcoholic beverage. It is the national symbol, the most important belt drive of the government and shadow economies, the major means of social therapy, an inexhaustible source of creative inspiration and many other things. In a word, it is Russia´s Number 1 Product directly tied up to the major mechanisms and belt drives of Russian reality.

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