Letter to Editor
The problem of the alcohol misuse in Russia is well known; but there is a tendency to exaggerate it, which seems to be used to disguise shortages of the healthcare and public assistance.In this way, responsibility for the relatively low life expectancy is shifted onto the patients, who are supposed to drink excessively. In parallel, there is a tendency to exaggerate successes of the anti-alcohol campaign (1985-1989) and to trivialize the harm caused by the campaign e.g. mass consumption of surrogates . The bias can be illustrated with the example of papers by Yuri Razvodovsky [2-5]. Yuri asked me per e-mail to write a “friendly” letter to the Editor referring to his article. An excerpt from the correspondence is presented here as documentary evidence (Figure 1). In reply, I cited the phrase: “The official statistical data do not support the claims that the… аnti-alcohol campaign contributed to the dramatic growth in fatal poisonings by non-beverage alcohol surrogates”  and commented that I witnessed mass poisonings with window cleaner in 1988. Considering the large scale of the window cleaner sales, it was knowingly tolerated by authorities. Poisonings with methanol and organochlorides (used e.g. in dry cleaning) were known to occur as well. Yuri replied that “there are two realities: one, which we both witnessed, and another-official statistics” (Figure 1). Obviously, Razvodovsky should have discussed in his articles the “realities we both witnessed”, i.e. common knowledge and observations, otherwise his papers are misleading.