Letter to Editor

Alcohol-related poisonings in Russia: Obfuscated facts

Sergei V Jargin*

Published: 25 January, 2018 | Volume 2 - Issue 1 | Pages: 001-005

The problem of the alcohol misuse in Russia is well known; but there is a tendency to exaggerate it, which seems to be used to disguise shortages of the healthcare and public assistance. In this way, responsibility for the relatively low life expectancy is shifted onto the patients, who are supposed to drink excessively. In parallel, there is a tendency to exaggerate successes of the anti-alcohol campaign (1985-1989) and to trivialize the harm caused by the campaign e.g. mass consumption of surrogates [1]. The bias can be illustrated with the example of papers by Yuri Razvodovsky [2-5]. Yuri asked me per e-mail to write a “friendly” letter to the Editor referring to his article. An excerpt from the correspondence is presented here as documentary evidence (Figure 1). In reply, I cited the phrase: “The official statistical data do not support the claims that the… аnti-alcohol campaign contributed to the dramatic growth in fatal poisonings by non-beverage alcohol surrogates” [4] and commented that I witnessed mass poisonings with window cleaner in 1988. Considering the large scale of the window cleaner sales, it was knowingly tolerated by authorities. Poisonings with methanol and organochlorides (used e.g. in dry cleaning) were known to occur as well. Yuri replied that “there are two realities: one, which we both witnessed, and another-official statistics” (Figure 1). Obviously, Razvodovsky should have discussed in his articles the “realities we both witnessed”, i.e. common knowledge and observations, otherwise his papers are misleading. 

Read Full Article HTML DOI: 10.29328/journal.jatr.1001005 Cite this Article Read Full Article PDF


  1. Jargin SV. Popular alcoholic beverages in Russia with special reference to quality and toxicity. J Addiction Prevention. 2017; Ref.: https://goo.gl/RYUqsF
  2. Razvodovsky YE. Alcohol-attributable fraction of ischemic heart disease mortality in Russia. ISRN Cardiol. 2013; Ref.: https://goo.gl/HhjrjE
  3. Razvodovsky YE. The effect of beverage type on alcoholic psychoses rate in Russia. Alcohol Alcohol. 2015; 50: 200-205. Ref.: https://goo.gl/u8fYWf
  4. Razvodovsky YE. Fatal alcohol poisonings and poisonings by other toxic substances in Russia. J Addict Res Ther. 2017; Ref.: https://goo.gl/gshqRL
  5. Razvodovsky YE. Affordability of alcohol and alcohol-related outcomes in Russia. J Addict Med Ther. 2017; Ref.: https://goo.gl/6QZytf
  6. Nemtsov AV. Alcoholic history of Russia: contemporary period.
  7. Jargin SV. Questionable information on poisonings by alcohol surrogates. Interdiscip Toxicol. 2016; 9: 83-84. Ref.: https://goo.gl/oRngPd
  8. Nuzhnyi VP, Kharchenko VI, Akopian AS. Alcohol abuse in Russia is an essential risk factor of cardiovascular diseases development and high population mortality (review). Ter Arkh. 1998; 70: 57-64. Ref.: https://goo.gl/Ei4ufP
  9. Bailey A. Campaign, simulation, or what? President Medvedev’s antialcohol initiative, 2009-2012. In: Materials of the Fifth International Scientific-and-Practical Conference “Alcohol in Russia”. 2014; 119-124.
  10. Jargin SV. Alcohol and alcoholism in Russia: Policies and their effects. Archives Medical Review Journal. 2017; 26: 207-222.
  11. Jargin SV. Vodka vs. fortified wine in Russia: Retrospective view. Alcohol Alcohol. 2015; 50: 624-625. Ref.: https://goo.gl/JYL96Y
  12. Jargin SV. Cardiovascular mortality in Russia: a comment. Cardiovasc Diagn Ther. 2017; 7: 13-14. Ref.: https://goo.gl/X7VFoA
  13. Leon DA, Chenet L, Shkolnikov VM, Zakharov S, Shapiro J, et al. Huge variation in Russian mortality rates 1984-94: artefact, alcohol, or what? Lancet. 1997; 350: 383-388. Ref.: https://goo.gl/okuDXj
  14. Jargin SV. Cardiovascular mortality trends in Russia: possible mechanisms. Nat Rev Cardiol. 2015; 12: 740. Ref.: https://goo.gl/swZ8dr
  15. Razvodovsky YE. The effect of beverage type on alcoholic psychoses rate in Russia. Alcohol Alcohol. 2015; 50: 200-205. Ref.: https://goo.gl/7ZMgZL
  16. Jargin SV. Some aspects of psychiatry in Russia. Int J Cult Ment Health. 2011; 4: 116-120. Ref.: https://goo.gl/9qkrPj
  17. Auersperg A, Cid-Araneda A. Threatening delirium and persecution mania. Distinction between methyl alcohol and schizophrenic hallucinations. Nervenarzt. 1970; 41: 209-214. Ref.: https://goo.gl/AFZuLc
  18. Souder LR. Psychosis following ingestion of methyl alcohol. Del Med J. 1952; 24: 203-204. Ref.: https://goo.gl/KfVsPF
  19. Todd J. “Sniffing” and addiction. Br Med J. 1968; 4: 255-256. Ref.: https://goo.gl/XK2W8F
  20. Nuzhnyi VP. Toxicological characteristic of ethyl alcohol, alcoholic beverages and of admixtures to them. Voprosy Narkologii. 1995; 3: 65-74.
  21. Govorin NV, Sakharov AV. Alcohol-related Mortality. Tomsk: Ivan Fedorov.
  22. Davydov MI, Zaridze DG, Lazarev AF, Maksimovich DM, Igitov VI, et al. Analysis of mortality in Russian population. Vestn Ross Akad Med Nauk. 2007; 7: 17-27. Ref.: https://goo.gl/9sHCTo
  23. Nuzhnyi VP, Rozhanets VV, Savchuk SA. Chemistry and toxicology of ethyl alcohol and beverages on its basis: chromatographic analysis of alcoholic beverages. 2016; Ref.: https://goo.gl/pbFoha
  24. Jargin SV. Social vulnerability of alcoholics and patients with alcohol-related dementia: a view from Russia. Alcohol Alcohol. 2010; 45: 293-294. Ref.: https://goo.gl/Astmwx
  25. Jargin SV. Some aspects of medical education in Russia. Am J Med Stud. 2013; 1: 4-7. Ref.: https://goo.gl/tPmHiA
  26. Jargin SV. Alcohol and alcoholism in Russia since 1985 with special reference to the suicide rate. Int J Psychiatry. 2016; Ref.: https://goo.gl/TcS8qu
  27. Jargin SV. Some aspects of nonbeverage alcohol consumption in the former Soviet Union. Psychiatry J. 2015. Ref.: https://goo.gl/nTGcer
  28. Jargin SV. Alcoholic beverage type and pancreatitis: A letter from Russia. Pancreas. 2016; 45: 18-19. Ref.: https://goo.gl/CRCCdt


Figure 1

Figure 1

Similar Articles

Recently Viewed

Read More

Most Viewed

Read More