Vodka is synonymous with Russia like Alfred Hitchcock with thriller movies. Vodka is more of a symbol of Russia to rival its own brown bears, caviars and Matryoshka! Sure, Vodka is native of Russia with the highest consumption rate among the people for the last many centuries-currently with 17 shots per person per month! Poland and Ukraine are close enough to them in this matter. So also the whole of Vodka belt containing Eastern Europe and Nordic countries.
The word Vodka comes from the translation of water in Russian "Voda".Experts suggest that its use became so common among the people in Russia because it is a quick remedy for the cold they have to face! And vodka is everywhere in Russia, in politics, folk songs, movies, literature, jokes which has become inseparable with social life of people.
Having narrated about the importance of Vodka in the life of Russia and Russians, there was a time when they ran out of Vodka for a day and had to face disrupted supply for many following days! That was on May 9, 1945, the day Germany had surrendered to the Allied Forces as officially announced by Russia on the radio!! The news broke out on that day by 1.10 am but the Soviet citizens went outside in the middle of the night in their pajamas, embraced each other and wept with joy. Before Stalin could officially announce about the German surrender, the country had run out of Vodka!!
Russia has not changed..
In 2017, much later after Soviet Union had disintegrated to so many countries including Russia, Geetha and I ,were in Moscow along with few other Indians on a tour. As we visited a good restaurant for a buffet dinner, there was a free offer from the owner that either a can of beer or a shot of locally brewed Vodka is free. As expected hardly few fellow Indians had it but those who had ,went for international brands of beer. But I went for the Vodka since I thought it was a good chance to taste the local brew of Moscow. Sure , as practiced I wanted soda or water to dilute it but the bartender asked me to take it as it is in sips.It was a good decision and I ordered for the second shot. Geetha joked that it was a clever ploy of the owner to extract money. But when we wanted to settle the bill I was not charged for the Vodka in spite I had asked to bill the extra shot! The waiter smilingly told me that it was on the house! Their love for Vodka has not changed a bit whether the Govt has become capitalist or communist or dictatorship!!