According to author Oliver Bullough, in his book The Last Man in Russia, the country is “dying from within.” The culprit? Massive quantities of vodka. Toxic levels of alcohol abuse coupled with alarmingly low birth rates are eating away at the Russian population – a bastard child of the long Soviet totalitarian rule. By following the life of an Orthodox priest, the book illuminates the multifaceted cause that has ruined more than a few livers; lives ruined, generations lost, and hope hard to find. The beloved national drink has become an outright epidemic.
With the book’s last words still lingering in my thoughts, I read of yet another epidemic. Thousands of miles south of Moscow and the northern gulag sites of Inta, this epidemic is ravishing a nation regardless of generation, is extremely contagious, and has no apparent cure. While Russia suffers from “chronic alcoholism,” Korea suffers from “chronic depression,”…
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