WASHINGTON -- A disturbing study in the Lancet that looks at the causes of mortality tracked 151,000 men over 10 years, during which 8,000 of them died. They found the "risk of dying before age 55 for those who said they drank three or more half-litre bottles of vodka a week was a shocking 35 per cent."
The average Russian adult drinks about 13 litres of pure alcohol per year, mainly via vodka. For men, it's closer to 20 litres.
Overall, as the Guardian notes, "a quarter of Russian men die before reaching 55, compared with seven per cent of men in the U.K. and fewer than one per cent in the United States. The life expectancy for men in Russia is 64 years, placing it among the lowest 50 countries in the world in that category."