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As Russia's economy slows to a halt , an examination of the second view couldn't be more timely. If Russia is dying, Bullough suggests one doesn't have to look far to find the cause. Russians are literally drinking themselves to death.

The Last Man in Russia and the Struggle to Save a Dying Nation by Oliver Bullough: review

If Bullough is right, then the staggering figure of Boris Yeltsin is a more accurate symbol for the nation that Putin's gung-ho, karate black-belt. The statistics are sobering: Russia's population has been falling for decades, the average life expectancy of a Russian man having now dropped to below the age of retirement.

Russian economists know what Lenin discovered after the communists came to power. Although he announced that the state would ban the sale of alcohol, no government could afford to lose almost half of its revenue. Instead, the communists monopolised the trade. They did very well at it: by , more shops in Russia sold alcohol than sold fruit, meat and vegetables. But more than a thesis on the economics of grain distillation, The Last Man in Russia is a contemporary history refracted through the story of one extraordinary man.

A D Miller

Father Dmitry Dudko 's life more or less mirrored the rise and fall of the Communist party. Born in the Russian heartland in , he died in Moscow in In his 40s, during the s, as the superpower's star rose ever higher literally so with the astronaut Yuri Gagarin , Russia's drink problem became acute.

This was when Dudko came to public attention.

A portrait of Russia with Irina Prokhorova and Oliver Bullough - Frontline Club Talks

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