“Feared and hated”: as Altai women have overcome the alcoholism

“Feared and hated”: as Altai women have overcome the alcoholism

Almost three decades ago the women of two villages in the Altai declared war on the alcoholism to save the men and their villages. Gathered Assembly and created the territory of sobriety. Now this fashion has spread to other regions.

In 2017 in the Russian villages, the alcohol poisoning was the cause of every 12 of 100 of thousands of deaths. To stop their extinction, the villagers are increasingly trying to do. For about thousands of villages, according to the health Ministry, decided to ban the sale of alcohol in local stores.

The leader on the refusal of the trade in alcohol — Yakutia, where the territories of sobriety declared himself 182 of the village. In Tatarstan there are villages about 15, in Tuva from six small villages turned a sober area. There is a village near Orenburg, where the tradition was initiated by a family of old believers, and the village near Voronezh where the experiment failed. But the pioneers of the territories of sobriety living in the Altai Republic.

200 kilometers from its capital, the region’s only city of Gorno-Altaisk, on the right side of the tchuisky highway, recognized by National Geographic magazine one of the ten most beautiful roads on the planet, in the sacred Altai Karakol valley are the village of Boochi and Kulada. They are home to about 700 people. Around are several camp sites. When tourists come to local stores — two of them on the shelves’t find any beer or wine or vodka. To sell alcohol is forbidden since 1985. Visitors explain this sacred spirit of the place or religious prohibitions, but in fact the lack of booze in the villages — the handiwork of local women.

“Then we had a real civil society, were all very active,” — says the head of the settlement Valentine Partinova that introduced the first ban on the sale of alcohol in the mid 80-ies and keeps it still. At the age of 19 she married a projectionist from Kalady, had two children, worked in the village a primary school teacher and sang in the created her own choir. In 1980, the residents made it the “over activity” — the Chairman of the village Council.

I talked to everyone-drinking families, the brawlers went home, someone in the club came drunk, I stuck to those, scolded. I connected the women’s Council. And duty we organized, and friendly court entered.

After a few years she was called to the national Congress of the Communist party and suggested: “since you have such active residents and so well are struggling with alcoholism, then swipe an alcohol-free wedding.”

“I agreed because of his youth, 30 years old, I was very ambitious. I was ashamed to say no. But when I went outside — Oh. And all started to say — Yes you can, all the terms drink vodka sold, as you agreed to that,” she says.

Came home — my husband says to me, you are such an adventurer, why would you agree, now people will hate us, because of you I pass will not be in the village. Children cry, they say, and so we call you, Mama, all sorts of laws are set. In the neighboring villages anywhere such is not present. We children from other villages call. In General, it was hard.

But Partinova convened a gathering of residents in the village hall and threw it on the scales your credibility. “I, as village President for five years beginning to convince them, they say, let’s show what you can. From the district promised support — to send artists and equipment for disco.”

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On that summer was planning six weddings. Partinova offered to take them in one day and all sober. Two of the six weddings were going to celebrate pupils Valentina — she pushed the memory of the first teacher, and they agreed. Third wedding was going to play the brother of the Chairman of the collective farm — he also could not bring the authority of a relative. The farm helped out, glad that “if all the weddings in one day celebrated, and men will not be hung over the work to pass, and in fact, after every wedding village for another week drunk.”

The remaining three couples did not want to be white crows. Besides, Partinova caused to the village Council the parents of future newlyweds, and held a conversation with them. “In fact, with our Altai arachi, moonshine milk, all night, could sit, no one was rowdy and was not drunk. So I tell them that our ancestors did not drink, as we now all drink to the horror and fighting, and the wedding is a good occasion. Well people where to go, agreed! The people were different, now that I would not have done,” admits Partinova.

“The people decided. Against the tide is not going well. Took, took. So,” remember now the village gathering. Usually at the gatherings and discuss any pressing issues of: cattle on summer pasture, the problem of stray dogs, water, garbage, listen to reports of heads of settlements. The issue of banning the sale of alcohol still decide at such meetings in other regions of Russia.

However, in Bookah and Kulade outraged the intelligentsia. Louder than many beginner resented then, and is now known in the Altai poet, writer and historian Brontoy of Bodurov. “What kind of adventurer? What is she thinking?! Weddings should be sober people!” — passed Valentine words of the writer.

In the summer of 2018, 33 years later, he is resting on one of the bases near Boca, drinking araku and from bi-Bi-si recognizes that “proud countrymen who are still no-no.”

As a result, in June 1985, six pairs of Malady Boca and signed in the house of the newlyweds, spent Altai rituals, then went to the village stadium for sporting events and evening gathered at the club to the disco. “On the table there was not one bottle, recalls Partinova. — Got a bunch of people from the city to check, correspondents, people from regional party. All drinking tea. Unhappy lot of it was — but they kept reporters after taking pictures, around spies. Around the corner in the evening has in store, of course. Around the corner I’ll go and drink and come back. But holding on. Drunk was not the result”. Two families who were getting married that day, live in Kulade so far. And keep a picture of regional Newspapers from the day of his sober wedding.

The head of the village Council of the Ministry of interior gave a gold watch, and from the Executive Committee — red Moskvich. “The heads of other rural settlements have ever been on and I hated it. I’ll always delegate and everywhere was advanced, because I have them all the time in the example is set,” she recalls. Residents Kuladi Boca and began to tease the “red Coladas” — the name of the first red commune, founded in the 1920″

At weddings in the neighbouring villages, guests from Boca Malady and said, “why you come here, you Red Colada you teetotal. Why us for the wedding going? Why do we need a holiday mess?

We are not happy, and askance look at us, complained about the village Antinovel.

And she’s already thinking about how to continue the work. Rural women’s Council — it was the accountant, the teacher, the shepherd, the teacher — speak about what we need even prohibit men drinking. The women’s Council is an elected body, but not official. He appeared in the USSR, but there are in most large villages and now. On a voluntary basis and it includes one woman from each village (Bocah them, for example, five). Going to the women’s Council from time to time. Here it is necessary to purchase crockery for weddings and holidays in the Altai Republic decided to celebrate the wedding the whole village, in one house there aren’t so many plates and knives; the women’s Council resets, buys them in bulk and store until the next holiday. Or it is necessary to help the families of the bride and groom with the cooking. Or it’s time to start the annual cleaning on village lands. Women’s Council decides and issues more painful.

So, activists in Kolade and Bookah planned to reconvene the General Assembly and to prohibit the sale of vodka in the stores. “And the struggle between women and men. So, men each other agitated. He said that if there will be more votes for the area of sobriety, then they Khan. And women were standing up to the men did not drink to the children thought,” — says Valentine.

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Arguments for the ban was simple: drinking men to stop can not, and if at hand will not be Supplement, another bottle will have to go in the “bottom” of the village to the Chuisky highway, for this we need the car to look for extra money to spend, and while there will be back — already sober. To get the desired majority of votes, went to the trick: “We agreed to get together for a gathering of only women but the men decided not to speak. And gathering all the women of the village and four men who found out — says Partinova. And in April 1986 in the village were only four votes against a ban of sale of alcohol — that from these guys. And in the evening the women came home and said — all, vodka will go in the onguday to buy. Men, of course, resented, and what to do — at the gathering-it didn’t come.”

So in the Altai appeared the first zone of sobriety. At the same time in the villages has created a Commission to combat drunkenness. The women’s Council and elderly veterans sat in it after each seen heavy drinking, and was fined guilty — 200-300 rubles in terms of today’s money. After three warnings were sent to compulsory treatment — it was in the USSR. “Oh, how these people hated me. Said I their lives ruined and sent to LTPS (activity therapy centers). Three are still alive. One of them is my neighbor. He sees me all the time asking — remember how you sent me to treatment? But what am I? All of it was hard.”

Partinova fined and his own brother, so the neighbors wouldn’t suspect it of partiality. If someone found a wooden surumi — Altai moonshine — disposed to burn.

I hated and feared. I said kill, if you want to kill, please. The nature of this hard. If a drunk on the street I noticed off right away. But I was terrible. I just always did what he said.

Were rumors that the head of the village Council want to poison. Family Pantanosas was bad enough. Daughter cried and complained to his father, “the Neighbors say that she has only to show themselves doing. Because our moms life in this village is gone and her itching in the nearby villages are drinking more and more, and no one cares, why our Mama more than you need.”

My husband also suffered for it, according to the head of the village, all looked askance, wanted a divorce. “But he was a very reputable man, he worked as a film projectionist, electrician and could fix any instrument. To it all went: to the motorcycle repair, who a refrigerator. It still saved me. If I was drinking or husband would not allow me to work — nothing would have happened,” says Partinova.