Alcohol abuse and the fight against it in Ufa Province in the late 19th and early 20th centuries

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This article is a comprehensive study of issues and problems related to alcohol abuse among the population of Ufa province at the turn of the centuries. The study uses methods of statistical and comparative-historical analysis. An important source is a survey of 1913, next to archival and published sources. The questionnaire, prepared by the Commission for Combating Drunkenness at the Society for the Protection of Public Health, was distributed among the peasant population of the Ufa province. It included 30 questions and touched on various aspects related to alcohol consumption, the causes of drunkenness, and methods of combating this social evil. The analysis of the information contained in more than one and a half thousand questionnaires allowed us to conclude that the population of the agricultural villages of the Ufa province suffered from a fairly high level of alcoholization. This hypothesis is confirmed by other sources. Moreover, the Russian-speaking population was most affected by the harmful effects of alcohol; to a lesser extent, this process affected Muslim villages, including Bashkir villages. The article also describes activities to combat drunkenness on the part of the state and public organizations, which included economic, cultural, educational, sanitary, hygienic, medical and other measures, up to the declaration of the “prohibition law” in Russia at the beginning of World War I. The article draws conclusions about the causes of alcoholism in Ufa province in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and attempts to give a comprehensive assessment of this phenomenon in the region at the time under consideration.

About the authors

Elza V. Migranova

Ufa Federal Research Centre of the Russian Academy of Sciences

Author for correspondence.

Ph.D. in History, Senior Researcher of Ethnology Department

71, Prospect Oktyabrya Ave., Ufa, 450054, Russia


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