Russia’s latest weapon in war on alcoholism: wine

on 25/08/11 at 2:22 pm

Booze News

Russians still scoff at Mikhail Gorbachev’s anti-alcohol campaign that saw Soviet troops tearing down vineyards – but which only drove hardened drinkers’ determination to concoct their own booze.

A quarter of a century later the Kremlin is considering subtler, market-oriented methods to fight alcoholism that could give a boost to the domestic wine industry even if they fail to modify Russians’ excessive drinking habits.

“Wine making is one of the sectors that should be developed to help contribute to the eradication of alcoholism,” Dmitry Medvedev said during a visit to Krasnodar, one of Russia’s main wine producing region this week. Alcohol abuse stemmed from “other drinks,” the Russian president added in an apparent reference to his people’s love of vodka.

Risking the unpopularity faced by Gorbachev, Mr Medvedev has declared war on alcoholism that claims thousands of lives each year in Russia. Under his watch taxes on alcohol have been raised, night time liquor sales banned and beer, traditionally regarded as a soft drink, re-branded as an alcoholic beverage in line with international norms.

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