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Russia Raises Price of Vodka

New Minimum Price Set for Vodka in Effort to Combat Alcoholism

February 8, 2010

Russian Vodka
In the New Year, it seems that Russia's resolution is to cut back on imbibing—vodka, specifically. The Russian government has set a new minimum price for vodka that nearly doubles the cost of a half-liter bottle of the spirit from $1.69 to $3 and more than doubles the price of the cheapest vodka on the market. The measure is part of President Dmitri Medvedev's anti-alcoholism campaign intended to curtail the country's excessive drinking as well as to reduce the number of deaths caused by drinking.

Some are concerned that the price hike will only exacerbate Russia's problem with illegal bootleg vodka, which has long been a dangerous contributor to drinking-related deaths. Historically, whenever Russia has tried to combat excessive drinking, sales of illicit alcohol have risen.

Rosspirtprom, a government-owned company, oversees more than 100 vodka distilleries and controls a large percentage of the Russian market. So while the new measure may prove ineffective in controlling the national drinking problem, the government will likely see increased revenue.

The word "vodka" is the diminutive form of the Russian word for water, voda, which shows how important this spirit is to the culture. In fact, three of our choices for the top ten vodkas in the world hail from Mother Russia, more than any other country.

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