`Living Water: Vodka and Russian Society on the Eve of Emancipation

Hardcover | April 30, 1999

byDavid ChristianAs told byDEBORAH CHRISTIAN

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This is a study of the social, economic, and political role of Vodka in nineteenth-century Russia. Since the `Green Serpent' first appeared in sixteenth-century Muscovy, it has played a vital part in Russian life. Vodka became an essential part of Russian working-class celebrations: personal,religious, and commercial. Trade in Vodka redistributed wealth upwards through Russian society over several centuries. Indeed, Russia's status as a great power was underpinned by it: by the nineteenth century, it generated one-third of government revenue - enough to cover most of the costs of thevast army. The dependence on Vodka of both people and state has endured into the Gorbachev era. But despite Vodka's key role in Russian history, and the complex network of corruption associated with it, the subject has been ignored by most historians until now. This study concentrates on an important transitional era in the history of Vodka: the early nineteenth century. During this period, Vodka taxes played the role that salt taxes had played in the ancien regime in France. The abolition of the tax farm in 1863 should be seen as one of the mostimportant of the `Great Reforms' of the 1860s, an era which, in many ways, parallels the glasnost of the 1980s.

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This is a study of the social, economic, and political role of Vodka in nineteenth-century Russia. Since the `Green Serpent' first appeared in sixteenth-century Muscovy, it has played a vital part in Russian life. Vodka became an essential part of Russian working-class celebrations: personal,religious, and commercial. Trade in Vodka re...

David Christian is at Macquarie University, Sydney.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:458 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 1.26 inPublished:April 30, 1999Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198222866

ISBN - 13:9780198222866

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'... the book is as important for social historians as it is for specialists on finance and administration. Scholars with other specialisms will find their own examples of the way in which his book sheds light in dark places.'David Saunders University of Newcastle upon Tyne EHR Shorter Notices April '94