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Russia Emerges From Two-Week Booze Binge

Around 1.5 billion liters of alcohol were consumed during the New Year's holiday.

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Diving into another zapoi. Photo via

By Chrisanne Grise

01/15/13

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Mid-way through January, many Russians are just now beginning to emerge from their annual two week-long New Year’s celebration. The festivities began on New Year’s Eve and, for many, continued until the 13th, even though businesses officially re-opened the 9th. During the national holiday, business shut down, stock markets closed and newspapers were not printed, while hoards of people hit the bottle in celebration (often referred to as “diving into a zapoi”). If all the bottles of booze consumed over the long holiday were lined up along the equator, they would cover the globe an estimated 17 times, according to Vadim Dobroz, head of Russia’s Research Centre on the Federal and Regional Alcohol Market. He claims the average citizen spent 12,000 roubles (just under $400) on alcohol during this time. Norma, a medical research network, estimates that Russians imbibed 100 million bottles of beer, 100 million bottles of champagne, 250 million bottles of vodka and 80 million bottles of wine—amounting to more than 1.5 billion liters of alcohol in total.

Health officials warn that these extended booze festivities could cause long-lasting damage. "Long holidays are, in any event, bad," says Yevgeny Bryun, Russia's top medical drug official. "Long-term abuse of any alcohol is always bad—it has chronic toxic impacts, the effects of which can last a month. Alcohol is only fully processed after three weeks.” Many local news sources are running articles on how to recover from a lengthy period of binge drinking. But while many were out partying, medical professionals stuck working through the break were sober enough to survey the damage. "The holidays are just holidays for regular people, but for doctors, especially drug doctors, they are hard-working days," reports MedPortal, a Russian health network. "The real fun begins three to four days after the holiday ends. Citizens, who have abused alcohol for at least 10 days (and some started in mid-December even), suddenly remember that they need to go to work."

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