Only in Russia: Man Drinks Vodka Sitting on Live Bear’s Back

by Matthew Memrick

A man drinking Vodka while sitting on a bear’s back? It just doesn’t get any more Russian than that.

The short video clip made the rounds on social media recently, with many itching to comment on the crazy and dangerous moment.

The man laughs and drinks Vodka while the massive animal seems to be ok with the man at the moment. There doesn’t seem to be any more details other than that.

Comments ranged from “Russia is a lawless wonderland of endless adventure” to asking folks to “Show me your Russian without telling me your Russian.”

I’ll sip a Russian Bear Vodka shot to that!

Just a disclaimer here. Americans don’t keep these animals as pets. Lately, there’s been lots of bear sightings and dangerous outcomes in the news. 

However, if you must, six U.S. states will let you have them. They are Nevada, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Alabama, North Carolina, and South Carolina.

Russians, Bears Natural Friends?

In a 2018 story, one Russian couple introduced people to their pet Stepan – a 23-year-old bear. According to the World Wildlife Fund, there are around 100,000 brown bears in the country. 

Svetlana and Yuriy Panteleenko have made the seven-foot-tall, 294-pound animal part of their family. The Panteleenkos adopted him when he was only three months old, and he’s way tamer than the average bear.

The story said the animal’s hobbies include cuddling with the couple and watching television. 

Bear As A Symbol In Russia

Maybe it has something to do with this animal being seen as an unofficial symbol of the country. One political party in Russia (United Russia Party) has even adopted it as its symbol. They see the bear for its power and cunning ability.

Maybe, Russians are just so comfortable with this animal in certain parts of the country, as the southern Caucasus mountains. In another 2018 article, bears reportedly were not going into hibernation. Because of that, they were staying “human-friendly.”

One researcher, Anatoly Kudaktin, was quoted as saying, “A rich food supply in the south contributes to the fact that these animals eat well, remain peaceful, and don’t attack people even if they meet them.”

Also, bear grease became a thing during the mid-16th century. Many would buy the stuff as an expensive remedy for hair loss. Go figure.

Another fun fact about Russia and bears involved a training academy, according to the website Russia Beyond. 

In the 17th century, a famous academy in Smorgon trained the animal for circuses throughout Europe. 

Later, in the 19th century, English political cartoons and engravings depicted Russia as a bear facing other countries.

Finally, who could forget the 1980 Olympics with Misha the Bear? For you history buffs, that’s the Olympics that the U.S. and 66 other countries boycotted. In pictures, Misha carried a bunch of balloons in the stadium.