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Russians today are the world's heaviest drinkers. The consumption of alcohol permeates family life, shapes the economy and plays an occasional but striking role in presidential politics. And it was in Russia in the 1980s that the most sustained attempt of its kind was made to eliminate alcohol abuse, even drinking itself. Drawing upon a wide range of original sources, including interviews, surveys and the local press, Stephen White provides the first full-length study of this extraordinary campaign. He traces the profound influence of alcohol through Russian history, and charts the campaign from its initiation under Mikhail Gorbachev to its disappointing aftermath in the post-communist 1990's. Attractively written and fully illustrated, Russia goes dry is an entertaining as well as instructive guide to a changing society and a classic case study of the limitations of politically directed social reform.