By Christopher McCollum
Fresh news out of Russia indicates that Dmitry Medvedev is at it again, with the Kremlin raising the Vodka tax in Russia by nearly 100% for the New Year, and some people are supposedly rumbling that the Vodka industry will be Nationalized, all in an effort to curb the high alcohol-related death rates that have plagued the nation for the better part of the past century.
Reuters reports that this new effort to combat alcoholism also includes heavy excise duties on Beer, and there are also plans on the table to restrict when and where Beer can be purchased. This new legislation was engineered to come into effect right now, in the midst of Russian Orthodox Holiday celebrations which last the first week and a half of January, and is ridden with rampant alcohol use. The threat to institute duties on Vodka is also being discussed, and there also lies the possibility that Medvedev will follow in Mikhail Gorbachev’s footsteps by ordering cuts in the production of wine and spirits. If that happens, then it’s easy to assume that bootlegging will also pick back up, as it did in 1985 when Gorbachev issued his prohibitive order.
Medvedev has shown a prohibition stance in the past, and we started warning on Culture of Spirits back in October that he was soon going to be taking steps to slow the alcohol industry down in his country. It has finally happened, a few months later, and now we are left to see what the future holds in the Motherland of Vodka.
If Medvedev is determined to follow in Gorbachev’s footsteps, then we will be keeping an eye on the Russian news services, to track the number of deaths related to dirty bathtub Vodka. Additionally, one must wonder where the taxes from these hikes are going to be going, and we can only hope that they go to educating the populace on alcohol consumption and dependence. However, if the Kremlin undergoes a massive new remodeling, let’s see if we can track down where the funding comes from.