When you think of Russia and alcohol I would assume that most of you would automatically think vodka. What if I told you that you would be incorrect. “After the terrible famine that gripped Ukraine and southern Russia in the wake of collectivization, and only a few years before the terror and war scare sent society into a tailspin, citizens experienced a period of relative comfort and well-being” (1). This relative comfort and well-being turned the people of Russia to a drink they previously weren’t very much accustomed to. That being champagne. A country synonymous with vodka started there roots with champagne! Previously champagne was a drink for aristocrats and NEPmen. Collectivization and the Five Year Plan was a large factor in bringing not only champagne but other cherished foods to the market that during previously times of hardship weren’t as readily available!
Up until the mid-thirties there was no mass production of champagne due to technological factors until Anton Mikhailovich Frolov-Bagreev was able to change the fermentation process. This change led to a great increase in production from an “initial level of 300,000 bottles per year, production rose to 12,000,000 by 1942, the depths of the war” (1). Champagne making was established at the Crimean coast by Prince Lev Golitsyn before his death in 1915. The initial spark of champagne in Russia can be attributed to him. Due the ability to mass produce champagne it wouldn’t be uncommon to see taps of champagne in grocery stores. Individuals such as “Anastas Mikoian, People’s Commissar of the Food Industry, helped Frolov attain his dream of popularizing the drink after the war” (1). This was a great time for Russia, after all that has previously gone on there is no doubt why they wanted to indulge in a lot of champagne!
What I find the most interesting about all of this is how easily popular figures such as Anasras Mikoian could be to the common folk during the time. It made me think of celebrities now a days and how much influence they have over what people purchase. People such as The Kardashians are a great modern day example. You see them using certain make up or wearing certain brands and people go out and purchase them. It’s the same exact thing with Mikoian and Champagne. It just put back into perspective how much power influential figures have over society.