Long known to be a people focused on vodka, the Russians have adopted in less than 10 years a healthier lifestyle. According to the World Health Organization, they now drink less than the French or Germans and they also smoke less than before. The influence of their President, Vladimir Putin, would be no stranger to it.
In the collective imagination, the Russians are inseparable from vodka and alcohol, but this cliche is no longer valid. In fact, with 12.2 liters of alcohol consumed per year per person, they drink less than the Germans (13.4 liters), the French (13.3 liters) or the Portuguese (12.6 liters). This is apparent from a WHO study.
Since the fall of the USSR in 1991, the Slav people had never consumed so much alcohol. Compared to 2012, the population drinks 20% less. Figures that delight the Minister of Health Veronila Skvortsova: "We have succeeded in reducing by 80% per capita alcohol consumption," she said.
"At the same time, the number of people playing sports has increased by 40%. In five years, we have been able to reduce adult smoking by 22% and divide by a factor of three that of minors ".
The Russians go to the water
Alarmed by the rising mortality after the Soviet era, which was mainly linked to alcohol and tobacco, which had led to a decline in the population, the Russian authorities launched a merciless struggle against these two plagues.
An increasingly restrictive policy on alcohol has been introduced by the public authorities over the last 10 years: ban on the sale of alcohol after 11:00 pm, price increase with a minimum price, ban on advertising ...
It is the same for tobacco with a program against smoking that has resulted in a decline in smoking: today, only 30% of Russians smoke. The price of cigarettes has risen to at least 2 euros, which remains below European averages, but is high for many Russians. There are also smoking bans in public places.
Influence of Vladimir Putin
But the influence of Russian President Vladimir Putin is not without effect. When one analyzes the communication and the way of life of Vladimir Putin, one can feel how much this crisis has marked the Russian people.
The president, who has built his image against the leaders of the post-Soviet era, does not drink and regularly staged, playing sports, on a horse as on skates. An image in radical rupture with that of Boris Yeltsin, often caught in the act of drunkenness.
But this is not confined to communication, the Kremlin has taken steps to promote a healthy lifestyle. Socially, there are more and more modes dedicated to the cult of healthy living. Sports clubs, health or well-being are a real success in Russia.
For young Russians, the healthy lifestyle is de rigueur. Many stopped smoking when it became forbidden in bars and restaurants and it became frowned upon to drink and smoke in public, even among friends. The return of a moral order wanted by the president.
The transformation of a society is therefore not only through laws, but also through the example and the image that one wants to give of oneself.