Vodka Politics

Alcohol, Autocracy, and the Secret History of the Russian State
Schrad, Mark Lawrence
Date published: 
May 2016

Alcohol-and alcoholism-have long been prominent features in Russian life and culture. But as Mark Schrad vividly shows in Vodka Politics, it has also been central to Russian politics. From the tsars to Putin, almost every Russian ruler has utilized alcohol to strengthen his governing power. Tsars used alcohol to exert control over their courts, and the government's monopoly over its sale provided a crucial revenue stream from late Tsarist times through most of the Soviet era.