Russia easily and Internet-famously takes the cake when it comes to alcohol-fueled not-giving-a-shittery. And when it comes to booze, the country is most intimately associated with vodka -- go ahead, try to picture an inebriated man from Vladivostok attacking a dash-cam-equipped car while waving a whiskey bottle. Can't be done.
It's quite absurd, really. But, of course, a country that fascinated with alcohol has tons of types available. Take cognac, for instance. You can absolutely get tons of this particularly refined brandy in Russia. Except, don't literally take cognac from there, because according to some reports, up to 70 percent of that shit is completely counterfeit. Yes, counterfeit, as in "they cook up cheap-ass imitations of this highly prestigious drink from aromatizers, chemicals, and whatever alcohol they happen to have lying around."
And it's all made by this guy.
Personally, I dislike cognac, so if it wasn't for the fact that people die from drinking it, I wouldn't give a good goddamn whether it was made by mixing ground warthog anus with once-used barley wine. However, fake booze can be extremely hazardous to your health -- and it's not just cognac: wine and, of course, vodka are also highly susceptible to similar counterfeiting, making every time you grab an alcoholic beverage in Russia even more of a gamble than getting drunk in Russia is generally. It seems kind of unfair that a nation already plagued with alcohol-related deaths has its troubles worsened by fake, potentially poisonous booze, but that's how things apparently are.
Here's a video report that estimates around 30 percent of wine in Russia is little more than liquid horseshit.
"But does the horseshit still get me drunk?"
As anyone who has seen a Russian dash-cam video on YouTube can probably guess, getting proper statistics on deaths caused solely by these fake spirits is hard as fuck, though in 2006 the then-interior minister was able to approximate the figure to roughly 42,000 annual deaths.