Believe me when I say to you, I hope the Russians love their boozy brew.
Yet, for all Sting's good-intentioned words about our similarities, the Russians remain quite different. For example, until today, they didn't legally consider beer to be alcohol.
Until now the brew has been considered a foodstuff along with all other drinks under 10 per cent in strength. An array of international and local brands from Amstel to Efes and Baltika to Zhiguli could be bought from street kiosks or at railway stations, as well as from countless 24-hour corner shops, just like fruit juice or mineral water.
You have to love their logic about why the new regulation - or as we call it, acknowledgement of reality - is a bad thing. Only a dyed-in-the-wool drunk would think of this:
"It will be tougher if you want to buy a beer on the way home from work, or pop down from your apartment...So you have to stock at home. And stocking beer is more problematic than stocking vodka. It's bulky, it's big, there's no room for it in small homes. It's much easier to buy two bottles of vodka and manage for your instant need for alcohol."
That's only one step above "In Russia, beer drinks you!"
I think we need to send over Larry the Cable Guy as a cultural ambassador to show them how people who live in American trailer parks have zero problemo finding room for beer.
As you nurse your hangover, read the whole story here.