I ran across this video discussing the alcoholism problem in Russia. If you fast-forward to 5:15, you can see what a small church-based treatment center looks like:
A change since this video was produced- beer has been declared 'alcohol' in Russia since the beginning of this year:
From what I hear, however, the situation really has not improved.
Much of what the video focuses on is the symptoms, but not really the underlying problem in Russia. What is it?
Well, if you ask me, the problem is complex. First, there is the obvious problem of the weather. Just about every place where people are locked up half the year indoors with little to do, you see drinking problems. Sweden and Norway don't have the grinding poverty of rural Russia, yet their alcoholism problems are significant.
Second, and more profoundly, the dialectical materialism of modern Russian culture is a major factor. They have gone from Communism and its focus on wealth, to Consumerism and its equal obsession with wealth. The poor feel 'less than' because in both systems they are the 'less thans.' This leads to despair and drinking.
Third, the collapse of the Soviet Union brought down a political system that defined 'human character.' A great deal of Soviet indoctrination was designed to provide people with 'role models.' You were told what a good person is, and how to emulate his behavior. Now, this is gone. While the Church is now able to actively preach, only 1 in 10 Russians is an active participant in the life of the Church. The others may know about the Church, but it has little personal significance to them. Therefore, it does not necessarily effect social consciousness and the definition of character as it should.
Fourth, life must have meaning, and it is very obvious that Russians are struggling to find a meaning to life beyond mere survival. Without meaning, life is a burden, and drinking is an obvious escape from nihilism... with more nihilism.
Fifth, Russian society would do well to reconsider the 'hierarchy or relationships' I discussed in my previous posts and start working towards restoring the ruptured relationships that have come to characterize modern life. This will cure much of the fear and loneliness of modern existence.