MOSCOW Nov 29 Russia plans to raise minimum
vodka prices next year as it seeks to reduce consumption of
alcohol, despite risks that drinkers will resort instead to
cheaper illegal liquor.
Alcoholism is estimated to contribute to 30 percent of
deaths in the nation of 143 million, according to medical
Russia's government imposed minimum prices for strong
spirits such as vodka and brandy in 2010 and has been raising
the bar annually to factor in increases in excise taxes and
According to a draft decree published on a government web
site the cheapest half-litre bottle of vodka will cost 199
roubles ($6.00) from Jan. 1, up 17 percent from the current 170
The price will rise further to 220 roubles from Aug. 1,
bringing total increases next year to almost 30 percent over
While higher prices have already dented store sales of
vodka, according to official figures, experts warn that higher
prices will lead people to drink more bootleg liquor - sometimes
fatal if not distilled properly.
Russia has been tightening regulations for producers of
vodka and beer, such as Russia's Synergy, Poland's
CEDC and Danish brewer Carlsberg.
It has in recent years banned alcohol advertising, raised
excise taxes, restricted sales after 11 p.m. and banned sales of
alcohol, including beer, from kiosks. Lawmakers are now
considering raising the minimum drinking age to 21 from 18.
($1 = 33.1600 Russian roubles)
(Reporting by Maria Kiselyova; Editing by Douglas Busvine and