Half their wages into alcohol


Chi dodae sili alkogol?

[Does Alcohol Give Strength?]

Publication: Kharkiv, Naukova Dumka, 1930.

BARSKIY, Y. A, Chi dodae sili alkogol?

Great example of Soviet health propaganda, trying to make Ukrainians more sober. Very rare.

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Our Notes & References

How to get Ukrainians not to drink vodka? A fine example of this pamphlet of the Soviet all-Union anti-alcohol campaign. Very rare in spite of a large printrun: no copy traced in OCLC, but we could locate two holdings in Russia (RNB, RGB).

This original and engaging proclamation by Doctor Barskiy presents carefully selected facts and appeals – with surprising references to the lives of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and the poet Sergei Esenin.

The brochure was published and distributed as part of “Za tverezist” [“For sobriety”] series of independent works by the All-Ukrainian Anti-Alcohol Association, which held its branches in various local factories, organised lectures, raids on buffets and demonstrative destructions of moonshine, and gave out badges for good conduct (akin to medals to members of Alcoholics Anonymous).

Alcoholism was indeed an issue at that time: “67% of Kharkiv workers of the mid-1920s spent more than half of their earnings on alcohol. In Leningrad in these years, the corresponding figure was 16%” (Demochko). The Kharkiv government therefore waged an active fight against alcoholism and not only gave special orders to the police to charge drunkards, but also researched new methods to combat the issue, including the means of hypnosis, and even opened the first detoxification centre, vytvereznyk, in Ukraine.

Includes ads to attract money into Soviet banks.


Demochko, Hanna, “Problemy pyiatstva ta alkoholizmu v radianskii Ukraini 1920-kh rokiv ta sproby ikh podolannia”, Gileia: naukovyi visnyk. Zbirnyk naukovykh prats, Vyp. 75 (8), K., 2013.

Item number



Physical Description

Small 8vo (15 x 11 cm). 16 pp. incl. title.


Publisher’s printed wrappers.


Minimally rubbed at extremities, minor soiling on lower wrapper: a fine example of a thin, fragile pamphlet

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