Introductory talk at The Oxford Artisan Distillery vodka event by Professor Healey

Introductory talk at The Oxford Artisan Distillery vodka event by Professor Healey

10 November 2017

From Oxford Today, 8 November 2017:

A hundred years ago to the day, Russians awoke to find the Provisional government under arrest and a new Bolshevik regime in its place.

What unfurled over the following 74 years, until the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, was so controversial and such a human tragedy that Russians reportedly don't know how to mark the centenary. The public don't want to go there, while President Putin has been bland in his remarks, deliberately so.

He said recently,

‘When we look at the lessons from a century ago, we see how ambiguous the results were, and how there were both negative and positive consequences of those events,’ said Putin, speaking last month. ‘We have to ask the question: was it really not possible to develop not through revolution but through evolution, without destroying statehood and mercilessly ruining the fate of millions, but through gradual, step-by-step progress?’

Vodka consumption in the Soviet Union is a non-trivial subject because as Professor Dan Healey told an audience on the evening of November 7th, it is almost a way of benchmarking the Soviet Union in the different phases of its history.

The Bolsheviks, he noted, were 'not exactly fans of pleasure.' Like other idealists - say Methodists in England - they frowned on alcohol at the very moment in world history when prohibition was gathering momentum.

Full article here:

http://www.oxfordtoday.ox.ac.uk/culture/events/bolsheviks-and-vodkadiscuss