“Free Yet Dry”: Alexander Voloshin Takes Down Prohibition

Breaded cutlets and rowan gin sounds a delightfully formidable combination!

Boris Dralyuk

When our man Alexander Voloshin and his fellow émigrés, who had seen their share of suffering in the Old World, landed in the United States in the 1920s, they found much to celebrate — but one thing stuck in their craw. That something was prohibition and the Volstead Act, the puritanical law of the land, which wasn’t done away with until 1933. The émigrés had already had a taste of dry living. As I show in one of the first sections of 1917: Stories and Poems from the Russian Revolution, the Tsarist ban on the sale of alcohol during the Great War led to much frustration and, with the coming of the Revolution, to mass raids on cellars and warehouses where wine and vodka were stored. It also led to clever workarounds.

In the brief third chapter of the second part of his epic, On the Tracks and…

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By penwithlit

Freelance writer and radio presenter

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