Popular belief often contains at least a hint of truth. I have been out-drunk by Russian men on several occasions…
“Contrary to popular belief Russians statistically were not huge drinkers. France and England both consumed far larger quantities of alcohol than Russia did and with smaller populations. But a shot of vodka is an absolute must at any traditional celebration and that never really stopped.”
I wonder if those consumption figures were just for commercially sold alcohol. I’ve been told by Russian friends that the majority of Russian Vodka was fermented from potatoes in a bath-tub, then run through a still to concentrate it.
There are historical accounts of the German army over-running Russian army units while they were drunk, and this behaviour has a long history. Try reading “Vodka Politics: Alcohol, Autocracy, and the Secret History of the Russian State” by Mark Schrad.