Putin Caps Vodka Pricing
CBJ – Russia’s Vladimir Putin has ordered his government to control rising vodka prices, as the country’s economic crisis heightens, with the ruble losing value with each passing day.
Putin has also seen his popularity take a hit in recent weeks. By capping the price of vodka, he hopes to avoid having bootleggers produce cheaper spirits, which carries greater risks to people’s health than legally produced alcohol.
Russia is facing its worst economic crisis since 1998, when the country devalued the ruble and defaulted on its debt.
According to a study by leading international universities last year, a quarter of all Russian men die before they reach their mid-fifties, and their love of alcohol – particularly vodka – is partly to blame.
The government-regulated minimum retail price of half a liter of vodka has been increased by around 30 percent since last year to 220 rubles ($4 US).
Russia’s economy is expected to slide into recession in 2015 due to falling oil prices and Western sanction over the Ukraine crisis. Annual inflation, meanwhile, is expected to exceed 10% this year.