One of the most common "black myths" about the history of Russia is the assertion that the Russian — most intemperate in the use alkogolesoderzhaschih drinks people. So, allegedly, was led from the beginning of Russian history, in support of which often lead words of Prince Vladimir, "Russia Veselie drink there!" This response prince gave representatives of Islam, explaining his refusal to enter Islam in Russia. Therefore, they say, the Russian pagans by that time allegedly without regular libations could not live and chose Christianity, because it is much more loyal to the tradition of feasts. In the West, is pleased to support the assertion that perfectly fits into the notion of "Russian barbarians." Often we in modern Russia and ourselves repeat these false claims about the "historical predisposition" Russian drunkenness. But the history of Russia-Russia denies the black myth.
Historians know that in pre-Christian Russia was not drinking at all. We did not grow grapes. Wine for the few Christians for the sacrament sacraments were brought from the Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantium). The only intoxicating drink was slavyanorusov rabble honey, beer, Surits, kvass and Braga (Surits — it was the infusion of herbs on the water with honey). These were soft drinks with the strength of 2-3 degrees. And took them only during major festivals — spring, summer, autumn and winter equinox, and on feasts in honor of the chief gods. And, it was a privilege to men, women do not hold a glass (not to mention the children.) Kvass is still the favorite drink of the Russian people, it was used not only as a drink but to yield to them a couple of saunas, bathed in health.
After the baptism of Rus', the wine was still very rare drink served for religious purposes, was used as a medicine and in the homes of the nobility served in small Charco honored guests (one or two at most, the drink was rare). Greek wines were known as the rarity of being captured during his campaign Oleg — 907, along with gold and rich fabrics. In the early 16th century in Russia there is burgundy, then Canaries. Thus, in the Middle Ages in Russia wine was a rarity, virtually inaccessible bulk of ordinary people, and to know it was not a universal drink, and medicine, a symbol of honor (treated of important dignitaries.) Moreover, the rare examples of alcoholism in Russia has always considered a vice, drunks denounced and ridiculed. This can, for example, read a book researcher IR Pryzhova "History of Taverns in Russia."
In the West, the situation was just the opposite, drunkenness and gluttony (and debauchery) were very common defects from the time of ancient Greece and Rome. In VIII century Charlemagne was forced to ban the appearance in court of drunken witnesses and participants of litigation. Also recall that the judges at the meeting must be sober, and the priests in the sacrament of penance should not solder the penitents. Arthur Shoduell in his "History of drinking in England," says the vice of drunkenness was quite common among the English clergy, because, back in the year 570 Goldas wise ruler decreed that "every monk napivshiysya to what can not be sing during the service will be no dinner. "
Many people mistakenly believe that vodka — a Russian invention, there was even a phrase — "Russian vodka". Russ first met with vodka during the reign of the Grand Duke of Moscow and Vladimir Basil I (1389 — 1425 during the reign), the other information — a little earlier, in 1386, when Dmitry Donskoy. Genoese merchants brought the vodka as a gift from the Russian princes, by the time the "enlightened" Western Europe consume this drink for over a hundred years. It was the "aquavit" — pure grape spirit, invented in the South of France. Russian court, reading the drink, he decided that he can not drink, can only be used as an external medicine — "the wound puschati", and then diluted with water. In addition, the use of vodka was a church. Only in 1475, when the Ottoman Turks captured Cafu (now Feodosia) — Genoese colony in Crimea, was blocked channel revenues of Italian and Spanish table wines, began production of vodka in Russia. Drink not popular among the people, there is still preferred kvass and beer.
Interestingly, the industrial production of vodka in Russia began with the clergy (as already noted, in the West were in the lead by drinking it the clergy). She started to do in the Miracle Monastery — monastery in the eastern part of the Kremlin in Moscow. In addition, the church had the privilege of distilling (wine). Since the mid-15th century distillation of grain alcohol was placed on an industrial scale, and the government tried to extend the monopoly not only on the production and sale of "bread wine" (so at that time often called vodka), but other alcoholic drinks — honey and beer, before they are not subject to taxation. Production of vodka in charge "cup way" later Sytenny yard Sytenny order. In 1474, Ivan III introduced the first state monopoly on the production and sale of vodka in Russia, banned the importation of vodka ("cooked wine") in Pskov. It is interesting that he later tried to prevent a production of vodka in Russia (since 1476, apparently, the acute need for financial disappeared).
In general, this period Russia was still sober. Drunkenness were among the nobility, foreign mercenaries. Ordinary people had no time to drink, they worked. The famous traveler Baron Sigismund Herberstein (he visited Russia in 1517 and 1526 respectively), noted that the Russian is a remarkable work ethic, and very moderate in drink. On weekdays, all were forbidden to drink, only nemniki, foreigners have the right to drink, they lived in the settlement of the Moscow River, called Naleykoy from the word "pour". Only on major holidays were allowed to attend the "tsar's tavern", founded by Ivan the Terrible — the Holy week, Christmas and Demetrius Saturday (originally received permission to visit only the nobles). For the use of vodka in the other days it was possible thunder in jail or subjected to corporal punishment. Under Tsar Fedor policy further tightened, "royal saloons" initially closed, but it has led to an increase in private production. Then again, public drinking establishments have opened, because there could be quality control state, and private prohibited (Decree 1590). In the future policy of the government was also not permanent — relief replaced tightening "drinking" laws.
At that time, Western Europe was completely amazed drinking. French writer, one of the greatest satirists of the European Renaissance humanist Francois Rabelais (1494 — 1553) in his satirical novel "Gargantua and Pantagruel" shows his contemporary evils of European society. The main heroes of the constant drinking, and indulge in gluttony celebrated natural needs. Get and churchmen, which differed hypocrisy, greed, immorality (Rabelais knew the question, i. To a young man he visited a monk). In the XVI century Germany vodka sold at every corner of this century even nicknamed "drunk." One of the founders of Protestantism, Martin Luther (himself a big fan of beer), wrote in 1541: "Unfortunately, all of Germany zachumlena drunkenness, we preach and shout, but it does not help." Luther supported his companion, German humanist, theologian and educator Philip Melanchthon (1497 — 1560): "We Germans drink until obessilivaniya to memory loss and health." The situation was similar in England.
Not everyone knows, but in Russia the 19th century temperance movement took considerable scale — "tied" whole provinces, so that at the end of 1850 to give up alcohol Kovno (territory of modern Belarus) province, then joined her Vilna, Grodno province. Chaepitnikov Union was created. There were even "alco-riots" — people not only refused to alcohol, but also suit riots taverns, tavern. In the 1880s, a wave of a temperance fanatics, played a major role in this movement of Leo Tolstoy (he published works such as "It's time to recover," "What people befuddle?", "God or Mammon?", "For young people "). In 1885, the government, under pressure from public opinion, introduced a law "On provision of rural communities the right to close within their territories taverns." This right is used by tens of thousands of rural communities.
As a result, by the early 20th century the "drunken Russia from time immemorial," as it is loved to represent Western and Russian Russophobes stood modestly in the tail of the leading powers of Europe and the CSHA, ranking tenth in the level of alcohol consumption (3.1 liters per capita): the first was France, followed by Belgium, England, Germany, Italy, Austria-Hungary, the United States, Sweden … In the beginning of the Second World War (the so-called First World) introduced in Russia in general prohibition and consider establishing sobriety in the Russian Empire "forever and ever." At that time, the level of alcohol consumption has fallen to almost zero.
The country then gradually "drunk." Thus, in 1924, on the initiative of Bukharin, Rykov government allowed vodka (it's why they called "rykovka") by entering the wine monopoly. Being allowed to drink vodka at work Metakhim, in the workplace, even introduced additional staff working for substitution quite drunk. Three days a month allowed truant during the binge. It is true that in some years the laws have tightened as he went on increasing the flow of information of marriage, failure of plans, the expansion of production, labor, government personnel, a sharp increase in drunken fights, etc. By the time World War II consumption only close to the bar of the early 20th century before the "dry law" — about 4 liters of absolute alcohol per capita per year.
In the 1960-1980-s country drunk more — production capacity was greatly enhanced. In 1980, it sold 7.8 times more alcoholic beverages than in 1940. In the 1990s, drinking was one of the main causes of the so-called. the problem of the "Russian Cross" — the death rate exceeded the birth rate. Even so, the general deterioration of the situation, Russia has become the world leader in the drinking. Leaders of countries by alcohol consumption are — Luxembourg, Ireland, Portugal, France, Italy, Belgium, Germany, Czech Republic and Romania. According to the late 20th century, the publication World Drink Trends, Russia in the ranking of drinking just something took 19th place. Clearly, these data are not a reason for complacency, Russia needs a complete program of the nation's sobering, especially the big concern is the problem of alcohol abuse among young people.
Summing up, it should be noted that the myth of the Black Russian drunkenness, not only programs the Russian people (youth) on a particular behavior, is used to justify all kinds of vices, and harmful to the international reputation of our country, creating an image of drunken "Russian bear". Personally, each of us has to contribute to the nation's sobering. Sobriety should be a feature of every Russian who respects its people and its ancient history.
The myth of the mud
An integral part of the great myth of the black Russian and Russia, is the myth of the Russian impropriety. But if you look at the history of Western Europe, we can point out a few interesting facts that suggest that the situation was the opposite. Even in the story of visiting Russia, the Apostle Paul said that by visiting the land Ilmen word (Novgorod region), he was surprised by the fact that the locals love to bathe in the baths, to beat his "young twigs" and kvass and pour cold water. That is, we see signs of a high level of hygiene in Ancient Russia — washed, and even strengthened immunity cold water, folk remedies (kvass).
In Western Europe, if the deal with the question of personal hygiene, it was really bad. Thus, according to the ideas, care of the body was considered sinful, and the excessive number of washing procedures and associated sight of their own naked body — curvy (inclines to sin.) St. Benedict wrote: "A healthy body and especially young age should be washed as infrequently as possible." St. Agnes took this very 'smart' advice to heart so that over the course of his adult life, not washed even once. Naturally the common people followed the likes of "saints."
And, not washed, not only of the clergy and the common people, but also to know. Some methods of hygiene appeared only after the Crusades in the Middle East — the knights met Middle East culture. French King Louis XIV reduced all their hygiene to wash hands and periodically wiping body perfume. Napoleon Bonaparte preferred instead of washing every day wiping body cologne, the French commander small convoy drove his beloved «Eau de Cologne» («Cologne water"). In addition, it must be said that the spread of Europe's fashion fragrance was associated with a desire to mask the smell of dirty bodies. In more recent times, except for the dandies who always took care of the teeth or clean them with chalk, other European nobles in the evenings, at best, rinsed his mouth and washed his hands. Before the ball or other special occasions resorted to more complex procedures: not only washed their hands, but his ears and neck. Bathrooms were a rarity, moreover, they are often used for special procedures — "bathing beauty" of milk, herbal extracts, etc. Even in the first half of the XIX century, the head washed no more frequently than four times a year.
The interesting fact of history — one of the reasons why Falsdmitry caught in that it is not a Russian, was the fact that he did not go to the bath. For the Russian people it was the first sign of the stranger — "German", "Vlach", "latinyanina" etc. While Western Europe and bath inherited from ancient Rome and Byzantium, but during the "dark ages" almost lost it. The Crusaders, who came to the Middle East, hit the local people of their savagery and mud, "Franks wild. Praising their god Jesus, drink to excess, fall where they drink and eat by allowing dogs to lick their mouths spewing invective and the food eaten. " Crusaders in the hot climate in the Middle East rated the usefulness of baths, and she was to return to Europe, but then the efforts of the Church and state at the time of the Reformation, was again almost eradicated because considered a nest of debauchery and an infection. The third time, bath back to Western Europe only in the XIX century. It is believed that the impetus for their revival is given marching Russian bath, which the Russian army came to Paris in 1814.
The sanitary condition of the Western European medieval cities was horrendous. The narrow streets were packed with various garbage, sewage was not, so the products of human activity were thrown out of the windows on the street, as well as waste from kitchens, abattoirs. If the situation deteriorates to the point where debris prevented passage, then the local feudal lord or king ordered to organize a "work day." But it helped briefly. The degree of trash and dirt that had prevailed in European cities, can be judged by the fact that there were in the metropolitan Paris street shit, and Dermyanaya Dermishnaya, filthy shit, simply unadorned street shit.
And despite the fact that at the time when Europe was buried in the mud, in Novgorod in the middle of X century appeared the first in Russia, and in medieval Europe, wooden bridge. For example, in Paris bridge appeared only in the XII century, and in London only in the XV century. In the XI century wooden bridge is all the streets of Novgorod, and the courts in urban estates. Surprising uniformity bridge allows the scientists said they were made at the public expense by the same standards. Bridge is updated every two decades by laying a new layer on top of the old one. In addition, on both sides of the bridge to make a special fence — railing with three rows of timber height of 40 centimeters and even gutter construction. It must be said that the bridge was in other Russian cities, for example, in Pskov and Smolensk. At the end of the XI — XII centuries, beginning in the first contrived Novgorod in Russia, and in medieval Europe plumbing. It was located on the territory of the princely estate in Yaroslav's Court. Pure water "for drinking and washing" went to the house through the pipes from the strong key who beat the East's Court. Aqueduct was gravity. In the French capital, the first gravity water built at the end of XII century, in London — XIII century.
This information is sufficient to conclude that the situation with hygiene, cleanliness in was way better than in Western Europe.