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Some surprising good health news this week from an equally surprising quarter, Russia. I looked at the news again. Russia?

Image of part of  a Sailing to Purgatory webpage to illustrate the article.
A different side to Moscow ... The wicked old city has been cleaning up its acts. Photo by Nikita Karimov on Unsplash, and many thanks to Nikita and Unsplash.
It was good to imagine for a moment that the Russians might be following the West even if a good few years after we began cutting back on smoking and drinking.

Yet who would expect to hear that the he-men Russia were actually drinking less?

The surprising news is not that the amount consumed is down by five or ten percent.

Almost half

It’s down by 43%, which if my maths is not too far out, is almost half.

Russian he-men are boozing only half as much as they used to? Tell it to the ….

Even here, where smoking has lost its cool and become very down market, there’s nothing to discourage householders from puffing away on their balconies, if the weather agrees and they happen to have a balcony.

Diners are banned from smoking in eateries over there, too. Can you imagine a Russian restaurant where half of them aren’t smoking?

It left me wondering about that mysterious society who apparently send alleged tourists to the city of my birth to poison defecting spies.

The formerly insignificant trading outpost of Moscow began to flourish and became a relatively safe place to live.

Perfectly on time

Then perfectly on time, the excellent Delancey Place email today brought some Russian history into our lives.

Moscow, it revealed, stopped being an insignificant dorp thanks to a spot of old fashioned capitalism.

Some nasties called Mongols expected tributes from the little township. Mongols weren’t the sort of louts who would accept an old fashioned cold shoulder.

Realising it, local aristocrats collected the funds the Mongols demanded and handed them over.

Little pleases a capitalist as much as having their palms crossed with dosh, and – surprise surprise, reports A Short History of The World by Christopher Lascelles, which Delancey Place was featuring today – the Mongols warmed to the 14th Century settlement.

When money changes hands

The formerly insignificant trading outpost of Moscow began to flourish and became a relatively safe place to live.

It does seem that when money changes hands, religion may not be far behind, and the Russian Orthodox Church transferred there from the ancient town of Vladimir.

Did capitalism make Moscow the spiritual capital of Russia? But until this morning’s Delancey email, who would have imagined Moscow as any sort of religious centre?

Of course, until this week’s news, who might have imagined a new state of relative teetotalism and widespread snuffing of smoking over there either?

Thanks very much for visiting the mostly Tuesday and Thursday blogs for my adventure book, Sailing to Purgatory, which are introduced each time on Facebook Facebook dot com/Sailingtopurgatory and on Blogger,

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The blogs for Sailing to Purgatory are introduced on Facebook and Blogger.