Vodka is a wonderful drink, and learning about its history, especially that of premiere maker P.A. Smirnov is a joy thanks to The King of Vodka. Not only does one learn about Smirnov's beginnings as a serf and his subsequent freedom, we learn about how he began as a humble, low-rung merchant who, with cunning and craft, emerged as one of the leading businessmen of his time.
Smirnov's story is that of Russia's. He came at a time when Russia was on the brink of transitioning from an autocratic country to a Communist one. His family's fortunes depended upon this trajectory. His sons and daughters, raised in wealth, did not share his father's hard-nosed desire to build up and maintain a successful business; they were, instead, more interested in the myriad fittings associated with wealth and gentry. They were, for the most part, little prepared for adjusting to change: from Czar Nicolas' state monopoly on vodka production to the Bolshevik's taking over the government and the great Purges that occurred after they solidified their control over Russia.
What is a story of pride, of the lowest of the low finding success by working hard and passionately wanting to success becomes a sad story of a family fallen.
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Apr 12, 2009
Sep 8, 2009 09:45 AM UTC
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