Drinking is seen as a sign of masculinity in Kiev,” says Daria Meshcheryakova. “People don’t understand how a grown man could be sober in the evenings or on holiday – they would wonder what was wrong with them.”
Last year the Ukraine capital’s city council voted to ban shops from selling alcohol between 11pm and 10am in an attempt to curb excessive all-night drinking.
Will it work? Mescheryakova, a local journalist, says generational changes may work to reduce consumption in any case. The biggest drinkers are middle-aged men, she says: “Young people in Kiev, who grew up with the internet, they aren’t as interested in getting drunk.”
The former Soviet states in eastern Europe are among the world’s heaviest-drinking countries, according to data from the World Health Organization (WHO), which mapped the total alcohol consumption of people over the age of 15 in litres per capita across the globe.
Elsewhere, countries such as South Korea, Vietnam and Portugal are curious outliers and drink more than the regions that immediately surround them. Australia, Canada and Europe all also have significant levels of drinking.