In the 19th and early 20th centuries, narcotic drugs were perceived both in the West and in Russia only by ordinary medicines. The devastating consequences associated with them, were then still not studied in detail and unconscious ...
For clarity and authenticity, let us turn to the fragments of the pre-war memories of the Russian sovereign Alexander Vertinsky: “It was sold (cocaine - BK) first opened in pharmacies, in sealed brown barrels, one gram each. The best, the German company "Mark" cost fifty dollars a gram. Then he was forbidden to sell without a prescription, and it became harder and harder to get it. He was already sold “by hand” - unclean, mixed with tooth powder, and it cost ten times more ...
In short, cocaine was the curse of our youth. He was fond of many. The actors carried bubbles in their waistcoat pockets and “charged” before each appearance on the stage. The actresses wore cocaine in powder boxes. Poets, artists were interrupted by random snuffs borrowed from others, because most often they did not have money for their cocaine.
I remember once I looked out the window of the attic, where we lived (the window looked out on the roof), and saw that the whole roof slope under my window was littered with brown empty cans from Markov's cocaine. How many were there? I began to count in horror. How much I sniffed this year! ”
In utter despair, Vertinsky turned to the authoritative Moscow psychiatrist, prof. N.N. Bazhenov (1857-1923), and in conclusion, he threatened a conversation with a novice artist: “This is what, young man, or I will immediately put you in a psychiatric hospital, where in a year or two you will be cured, or you will immediately give up cocaine! Now!
He put his hand into the pocket of my jacket and, finding a jar, threw it out the window.
- Goodbye! - He said, holding out my hand. - Do not come to me again!
I went out. Everything was clear. ”
Alexander Vertinsky got rid of drug addiction when the nurse worked hard in the sanitary section at 1914 - the beginning of 1916. He made 35 thousands of dressings! And he returned to Moscow a healed man.
In 1918, the artist toured in Odessa, following along with the White Army, retreating under the blows of the Reds. As Alexander Nikolayevich recalls, at a hotel where he stayed, he was lifted out of bed at night and brought to the camp car the hero of the White movement, Lieutenant-General Yakov Slaschev-Krymsky (a prototype of General Khludov in the play “Running” by Mikhail Bulgakov). The artist was asked to perform the song “What I have to say,” submitted. From this strange meeting he remembered: “... in the middle of the table there was a large round snuffbox with cocaine ... in the hands of those sitting there were small goose feathers-toothpicks. From time to time, the guests gathered in them a white powder and smelled them, driving it into one or the other nostril. ” The scent of cocaine, according to Vertinsky, and the general himself, extremely pale and haggard.
It should be noted that in pre-revolutionary Russia, office intellectuals implanted the theory of the significance of intoxicating substances in an era of political change. Some of the intelligentsia was oriented, for example, to the views of a literary critic and linguist D.N. Ovsyaniko-Kulikovsky (I853-1920). He tried to scientifically substantiate the absolute necessity for society to enter into a state of "acute ecstasy." Such a feeling supposedly helps a person "to keep at the level of normal agitation required for mental equilibrium."
Secret sects of drug addicts appear, bed rooms in private hospitals for treatment of drug addicts are opened, the Police Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Empire enters the publicly unannounced fight against lobbyists in the State Duma, who advocate the idea of legalizing drugs.
Register of robberies of victims, drugged intoxicants.
And, nevertheless, the problem of drugs does not penetrate into the thick of the simple population - the environment of peasants, workers, townspeople, and small servants, unlike ordinary citizens from the southern regions of the country, people of high society and bohemians.
This circumstance was partly facilitated by anti-drug legislation, although not as perfect as it should have been. The criminal code of the era of the decline of the Russian monarchy was distinguished by its liberal attitude towards offenders in the sphere of drug use. Here's how, for example, sounded Art. 899 Penal Code: “If the omissions indicated in the preceding articles (892-893) are followed by someone’s death (meaning the death of the buyer after taking the purchased medication - B.K.), then the perpetrators, over and above those defined by these articles, such are, if they are Christians, ecclesiastical repentance, at the behest of their spiritual authorities. ”
At this time, the European part of the Russian Empire after the construction of the railway lines that connected St. Petersburg and Moscow to the Turkestan region, Asian drugs penetrated more intensely from year to year. Yes, and from the "friendly" West smuggling did not stop, to a large extent provoked by corruption among Russian employees. We note the description given by the gendarmerie to the border guard: "... the greatest evil in the establishment of contraband lies in the corruption of the ranks of this guard ... the temptation has entered the flesh and blood of this guard." However, other government officials involved in controlling the spread of drugs were susceptible to corruption no less densely. IS Specialist in drug problems of the late XIX - early XX centuries. The Levites characterized the situation on the Eastern borders of the Russian Empire:
“Both individuals and whole aul societies are engaged in smuggling with the approval and under the tacit patronage of the village authorities ... the ranks of the volost and village administrations are patronizing because of material benefits ...”.
Without going into a deeper analysis of the state of the Russian drug situation on the eve of the Second World War, I attribute to the sources of drug trafficking in our country:
- Russian physicians. They intensively treated with drugs people suffering from drunkenness and alcoholism, as well as the mentally ill, thereby generating more and more new addicts. This perseverance was often influenced by the unconditional orientation of domestic health care to foreign medicine.
- foreign and domestic writers. They promoted the cult of drugs in newspapers and magazines, books.
- Russian travelers and military scientists. They sincerely sought to convey to the Russians "exceptional" knowledge about hashish, opium, and other intoxicating substances, which they assimilated in the lands where household addiction flourished.
- drug dealers. They were selfishly interested in selling dope as a super profitable product. They also established the operation of the empire's railway lines for the transnational transfer of hashish and opium in the direction of "Asia-Russia-Western Europe".
- The highest authorities of the country. They passively looked at the growing problem of drugs, which was fundamentally detrimental to society. Let us dwell on this moment in more detail.
Such short-sighted complacency, despite the long-term warnings of individual experts - military, medical, businessmen, writers, the same Leo Tolstoy, was based on the absence of a massive, pronounced negative social effect from drug abuse and their trade. Moreover, the scientists reassured: “Much happiness for us Russians,” prof. A.I. Kovalevsky is a morbid condition known as morphiomania ... very little spread. Morphiomania is many times more common in France, in England, in Italy and further to the East, especially in Constantinople. ”
To a large extent, general tranquility was due to a huge proportion of the rural population and a small proportion of urban dwellers. In the 1914 year (within the limits of the present-day Russian Federation), this ratio was equal to 83 percent versus 17 percent. (For comparison: in 2013, respectively, 26 and 74 percent.). The peasantry acted as a kind of buffer cushion on the path of drug addiction. The authorities reasoned like that. Morphine? Well, morphine, a medicine, the sufferer suffers from it, wants to - gathers with a silushka, prays, and stops injecting ... Also with cocaine, heroin. After all, they are "successful", we repeat, they have treated alcoholism and other forms of addiction. There were no excess drug addicts in psychiatric hospitals, although, we emphasize again, the first specialized beds in private clinics were already equipped. There were no queues for drug addicts in emergency psychiatrists, although they had already knocked on the door. Law enforcement agencies and special services didn’t pay attention to organized crime related to drugs - you will think that they are selling drugs. The police department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Empire was completely absorbed in opposing traditional crime and the persecution of revolutionaries. The relationship between drug addiction and crimes against property, when dependents for the sake of money per dose violated the law, was not monitored, except that individual cases of prosecutors ’malting of“ raspberries ”, alcohol with the addition of sleeping drugs, of the same opium, were discovered by prostitutes. The lack of professional interest in drugs is proved by memoirs of police whales, in particular, General Arkady Frantsevich Koshko, written by him in a foreign land in France in the 1926-1929 years: they do not reflect the problem of drugs.
About that in such a carefree drug situation, which was more relevant for future opponents and allies of Russia, the country met the First World War.
And immediately faced a huge problem, directly connected with drugs. Neglecting attention to them, the short-sightedness of entering into battles without taking into account this strategic factor painfully backfired, affected the fates, without exaggeration, of saying millions of soldiers and officers. And the thing turned out to be this.
With the development of technical equipment of society, the improvement of weapons for the extermination of the enemy, the battle became more bloody in nature, leaving many wounded on the battlefield. This fact was noticed. The governments of developed countries have demanded that scientists create such anesthetic medication drugs, which: firstly, could be produced in large quantities; secondly, able to immerse the seriously wounded during the operation in a fast sleep; thirdly, they had a small volume, low weight, and ease of use. The Russian Empire in this matter enjoyed the creative fruits of foreign physicians and chemists. And in vain.
Opium? Okay. To help 20 to the thousands of wounded (by the way, the number of victims without taking into account the killed and missing 26-30 August 1914 of the year after the Russians were defeated in the battle with the Germans at Tannenberg; in the Russian tradition - Samsonovskaya operation) 400 will be required day from the minimum calculation of one dose per person. Morphine? Even better. Weight is limited to 300 grams in crystalline powder. Heroin? His and it is necessary that only 100 grams, also in powder. Did the Europeans invent the syringe? Well done, we buy! Subcutaneous injection accelerates pain relief and the onset of sleep, speeds up the sanitary treatment of the injured. Prospects and social consequences of leaving thousands of military hospitals, freed from injuries, but affected by drugs? This was not thought ...
Only after a decade will begin to find explanations for what has already happened. In 1929, the domestic psychiatrist, Academician of the Academy of Medical Sciences of the USSR Vasily Alekseevich Gilyarovsky (1878-1959) lucidly described the social causes of the emergence of “field addiction”, as I called this phenomenon:
"A large number of wounds in war and revolution, very painful, were the reason for the use of morphine and other drugs ...".
The problem discovered in practice seriously disturbed another well-known Russian and Soviet doctor - Academician, Hero of Socialist Labor Nikolai Nikolayevich Burdenko (1876-1946). The famous surgeon, analyzing the means of anesthesia used in the 1914 year on the North-Western Front, complained about the lack of drugs that would not cause dependence on them in the wounded, insisted on the need in this regard to carefully prepare for future wars.
So, 1914 struck the year, the Second World War began. Already after the first armed clashes and battles, the wounded began to receive thousands in field hospitals and medical units. People needed sanitary attention, in surgical operations, which required significant medical resources. And they soon dried up ... Why? Yes, because the naive authorities for some reason assumed that the German emperor Wilhelm II would, out of high kindred feelings, supply, as before, narcotic drugs to his military opponent.
After all, there was no developed pharmacological industry of its own in the Russian Empire! Before 1914, biological and herbal medicinal raw materials were supplied from our country to the West, primarily to factories in Germany. And at low purchase prices.
And only after this German pharmaceuticals processed raw materials into finished products, the medicinal products ordered by Russia came back, but for a completely different, much higher wholesale cost. They also acquired in a drugstore on fifty dollars for gram drug addicts.
... In short, soon the stocks of drugs in the medical warehouses of the Russian troops ended. Surgeons in the field began to cut the wounded in person, without local anesthesia and anesthesia. The torment of the unfortunate facilitated a little sip of alcohol. Screams from the operating theater were heard the terrible. In healthy soldiers and officers who heard these cries, fighting spirit did not increase. And only when it finally became clear that medical aid could not be expected either from Kaiser Germany or from numerous “allies”, did the crest of the bureaucratic apparatus squeal ...
October 23 1914 of the year circular No. 1345, agreed with the Ministry of Commerce, was issued on Assistance to Public Institutions and Private Firms in Need of Purchasing Medicinal Products. The document encouraged the development of the pharmaco-chemical industry, which was engaged in the production of medicines necessary for the front in compensation of previously received from abroad. But even here the condom bureaucratic mechanism of the Empire being prepared for the death, despite the above-mentioned official statement of Russia's raw material dependence on German industry, again stalled. February 20 The 1915 of the year is being circulated with a repeated circular to the attention of the governors on the need for the earliest possible execution of the previously dispatched order. And the wounded soldiers did not decrease, on the contrary, they arrived from day to day, from month to month, from year to year. And again surgical saws are gnawed, there are no pain medicine, there is no anesthesia ...
14 in May 1915 in Petrograd (renamed from St. Petersburg 18 in August 1914) an emergency interagency meeting was held at the Department of Agriculture of the Ministry of the Interior of the Russian Empire “On Improving the Production of Medicinal Plants in Russia”.
At the representative meeting, which has already been admitted once: “The war of liberation now experiencing revealed Russia's heavy dependence on German industry, by the way, in supplying the population with medicines.”
Those present again found it expedient to cultivate the hypnotic (opium) poppy - Papaver somniferum - and create their own industrial base for handicraft and factory processing of raw materials and the production of a range of medicines. However, only by the end of 1915 — the beginning of 1916 — the government-defined task regarding narcotic crops, the opium poppy, begins to be fully realized.
Meanwhile, enterprising people living in the Far East (representatives of the Chinese diaspora were leading here) sowed impressive areas of sleeping pills in the spring of 1915, hoping to make good money on military supplies. What was their surprise and indignation, when 7 June (Art. Art.) 1915 was approved by the Ordinance "On measures to combat opiokom". This regulatory act prohibited the cultivation of poppy opium in the Amur Governor-General and the Trans-Baikal Region of the Irkutsk Governor-General. Exactly where it was planned to officially allow the cultivation of this medicinal plant. Similar regulatory inconsistencies to the local police, who took the visor after government circulars, led to complete bewilderment and confused finally. What to do, eliminate poppy or guard?
At the same time, transnational organized crime showed its true face, about the moment of the appearance of which in our country, experts argue to this day. I invite the readers of the Century to familiarize themselves with a curious document, little-known even to historians. It is directly related to our topic.
17 June 1915, a week after Nicholas II approved the Decree on the prohibition of opium poppy crops, addressed to the director of the Police Department of the Ministry of the Interior of the Russian Empire, senator, Count V.A. Brun de Saint-Hippolyte and six other recipients from the government received a unique telegram. I cite its full text, copied by me from the state archive:
Telegram number 20. The Chairman of the Council of Ministers, the Minister of the Interior, the Minister of Justice, the Minister of War, the Chairman of the State Duma Rodzyanko, and Senator Unterberg:
“A HUSBAND IS WRENCHED IN THE JAPANESE CAMPAIGN NOW IS IN ACTIVE TROOPS. THE SON IS WRAPE AND NOW LIES LEFT PETROGRAD LAZARETE. POINT. THE REMAINING ONE WERE RESPONSE TO THE EARTH FOR RENT TO THE CHINESE WHICH HAVE NO GRAIN SEEDS IN THE FORM OF WASTE OF FLOOD SEEDING THE EARTH MACOM. POINT. IN THE SAME POSITION, THE WOMEN AND THE MOTHERS OF THE COGS OF THE HUSBANDS AND CHILDREN ARE IN THE SERIES OF THE ACTING ARMY. POINT. THE LAW 22 MAY PROHIBITED SEED MAKA. POINT. THE LAW OF REVERSE ACTION DOES NOT HAVE, BUT THE FORCIAL ADMINISTRATION HAS ORDERED TO DESTROLL THE MAC. POINT. THE DESTRUCTION OF A SURVEYED POPPY AS IT IS EQUAL TO ALL THE POPULATION OF A POLTAVSKY DISTRICT FROM 17000 TENING, SOWED BY A MACO, MORE THAN 8000 WAITS A COMPLETE DESTRUCTION. POINT. AMONG TENANTS EXCEEDING THE NUMBER OF MORE THAN 4 000 A STRONG CONSTRUCTION IS POSSIBLE TO WAIT FOR DESTRUCTION IN CASE OF DESTRUCTION. POINT. PLEASE PROTECT AND DISPOSE OF PRODUCTION COLLECTION IN THE PRESENT YEAR. Wife of ESAULA SHESTAKOVA »15.VI.1915.
The telegram was "arranged" by the Chinese gangsters from the triad!
At first, St. Petersburg officials agreed with the requirements of tenants, since it was about unrest within the Empire, which was in a state of war. But the situation was changed by the regular ciprogram of the Consul General from Harbin from 12.07.15, in which it was reported: "... The local Chinese authorities draw my attention to the fact that, according to their information, within the Amur Governor-General this year extensive areas are again sown poppy seed ".
The royal bureaucrats solved the matter simply. They transferred the decision of this question to the local authorities. In turn, the demand of the republican government of China for the suppression of the activity of the makoseyalschik, the administration of the Ussurian army fulfilled as follows: the poppy crops were destroyed, and the “vicious foreigners” were evicted outside the Russian Empire.
As we see, the theater of military operations of the Russian army was not limited to the territory of Eastern and Western Europe. In the deep rear, there were battles, in this case against drugs, and for their production.
As the fighting continued by the Russian army, which was accompanied by the growth of revolutionary sentiments in society, the decline of discipline in the front-line parts intensified. This was greatly facilitated by the treacherous agitation in the existing military units by political parties that were antimonarchically inclined. From the memoirs of General A.A. Brusilov, other authoritative military leaders can see how bitter they were to observe the order decomposing before their eyes. "The situation in the army is terrifying ... the army did not exist in reality, and there were only crowds of soldiers disobedient and unsuitable for battle," wrote Brusilov in despair at 1917, after the February revolution and the abdication of Nicholas II from the throne.
Was the Russian army destroyed by the Bolsheviks, Social Revolutionaries, Cadets, etc., affected by drug addiction? No, it would not be true to say so. The predilection for alcohol, yes, it was noted, cannot be denied. The problem of field addiction in memoir literature and the press, scientific journals, excluding descriptions of individual episodes of addiction to them, is not tracked, which does not allow generalizing isolated facts to give them the scale of the phenomenon. For example, in the Russian Doctor No. 46 for 1915, a note by the military doctor T.F. Belugu about the recruits, who boiled the mushrooms, ate, fell into euphoria, sang, had fun, often repeating: “I will die anyway. Be sure to die. " I would refer this note to the category of curiosities.
And yet the narcotism of the Russian society was aggravated during the war years very energetically. There is a perception in the literature that the adoption of “Prohibition” in 1914 contributed to this. Allegedly, it was precisely after this decision that the intensive cocaization of society and the army was noted. I doubt: pig, she will find dirt everywhere. For example, according to my statistical measurements during the Gorbachev's “dry law” 1980's, there were no obvious signs of an increase in drug addiction and substance abuse. Indignation of biased journalists - yes, statistics - no.
As for the military environment, many soldiers “flew off the coils” under the influence of cocaine and morphine, heroin and ether in the short months of the two revolutions of the 1917 year (to anyone - coups) and especially during the Civil War.
A good example is Coca-Generalist Jacob Slaschov. In 1917-1922, the destruction of drug-carrying pharmacies by both “white” and “red” soldiers and sailors became commonplace. But attachment to military drugs at that time was a separate, independent narrative.
And how were the affairs of interest to us in the foreign armies of the opponents and allies of Russia?
Eyewitnesses claim: after the First World War, soldiers and officers who became dependent on morphine and heroin in particular were equated with war invalids. In the psychiatric hospitals of the United States and the Old World, there were more drug addicts than ordinary alcoholics.
The depressing statistics not killed during the fighting, but destroyed by drugs, is due in no small measure to the excessive intensity of the use of narcotic drugs by foreign field medicine. The allied armies and the armies of the adversaries were experiencing a glut of supplies of medical drugs. At the same time, heroin, because of its greater narcotic activity, was used more often than morphine and opium. Of course, getting used to it came faster. No wonder that in the West they called him "soldier's medicine."
Cocaine had a big circulation in Europe. During the First World War, Hermann Goering (1893-1946), the future Reichsmarschall of Nazi Germany, inhaled white powder willingly, setting off for another flight on a fighter aircraft. So did a lot of pilots. After years of 30, Goring became an inveterate drug addict. During his arrest by the Americans in Berchtesgaden, when he was found 20 thousands of ampoules with morphine, this modest stock was kept in two large suitcases belonging to the Reichsmarschall.
In Great Britain, for example, a whole list of drugs in the second year of the war was reasonably taken out of legal circulation, taken under close control by the state, and banned for non-medical use. In other countries, the drug regime was much weaker.
Radio Liberty 26 July 2010 of the year posted on its website the article by Sofia Kornienko “Cocaine for the needs of war”. This article tells about the Netherlands, where a cocaine factory operated during the First World War. It has operated since 1900. The drug was sold to the Entente states and to the States of the Triple Alliance. Only in 1919, 13 tons of cocaine were legally sold. The article also refers to the German company Merck in Darmastadt, which “produced about 1912 tons of cocaine in 1914-21 years, and more than one and a half tons a year during the First World War”.
History This dug up Dutch writer Conny Braam (Conny Braam). She claims that cocaine at the front was distributed to servicemen through medical units. For the convenience of his reception in the trenches, the drug was made in the form of tablets called "Accelerated March". On the tank, where the pills were placed, there was a label with the words "Weakens the feeling of hunger and enhances endurance." The writer talks about the hundreds of thousands of drug addict soldiers who became such thanks to the work of legalized drug factories. In the Russian army, this kind of experiments was not conducted.
What is the result?
Based on different sources, one can find out the losses of Russian soldiers and officers in the Second World War. They range from 775 thousand to 1,3 million killed and missing. Accordingly, the wounded - from 3,2 million to 3,8 million. How many of them could have been rescued by field doctors, if there were more drugs in the sanitary units of the Russian army and fewer in the rear, hardly anyone would answer. Undoubtedly one thing. The weakness of the national pharmaceutical industry and the hopes of the authorities to provide troops with pain killers by buying them from a military adversary are unforgivable.
World War I devoured four empires: Austro-Hungarian, German, Russian and Ottoman. There are words of Winston Churchill, who, formulating the tragic assessment of the Russian state in that battle, wrote: “Destiny was not so cruel to any country as to Russia. Her ship went down when the harbor was in sight. She has already undergone a storm when everything collapsed. All the sacrifices have already been made, all the work has been completed ... Holding the victory already in her hands, she fell to the ground, alive, like Herod, devoured by worms. ”
Did drugs and drug addiction help in this fall? Undoubtedly, yes, they helped, pushed, but not in the army, but in the rear society, more precisely, in its well-known circles, who provoked the historical collapse of the Empire for Russia in 1917 year.