Price of Russian vodka rises

Posted Jan 1, 2010 by Bob Ewing
The price hike took effect today as Russia seeks to curb heavy alcohol consumption by increasing the cost of the country's preferred drink.
Flickr/True Russian Vodka
The establishment of minimum prices for vodka is in effect as a part of President Dmitry Medvedev's campaign to combat alcoholism.
The Globe & Mail reports the New Year and Orthodox Christmas holidays are traditionally a period when alcohol consumption is heavy.
The cheapest half-litre vodka bottle will increase in price to a new minimum of 89 roubles ($2.95 U.S.). This is nearly double the previous cost.
Luxury brands of vodka were selling in Moscow’s supermarkets for more than ten times the new minimum; however, elsewhere vodka could be purchased for as little as 51 roubles.
Medvedev put strict measures in place last August to control alcohol consumption; apparently he was dismayed by official data showing the average Russian drank 18 litres of pure alcohol each year.
The measures that have since been taken include tripling the excise duty on beer and limits placed on where and when beer can be sold, such as banning the sale on street side kiosks.
The Globe & Mail quotes the Russian government as saying the measures were aimed “to reduce the level of alcohol dependency of the population“, when it announced the plans on Nov. 19.
There have been other attempts to curb drinking in Russia, Mikhail Gorbachev, in 1985 ordered significant cuts in the production of wines and spirits and introducing strict controls on public consumption of alcohol.
An illegal production and distribution system sprang up as a result of this clampdown.