Russia raises price bar on vodka in effort to reduce alcohol consumption

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The Independent Online

Russia set a minimum price for vodka today more than doubling the cost of the cheapest drinks in an effort to fight rampant alcoholism.

The measure is also aimed at reducing the extraordinary number of deaths caused by drinking in Russia.

The minimum price of 89 roubles (£1.80) for a half litre of vodka went into effect for the start of the 12-day New Year's and Orthodox Christmas holiday, when alcohol consumption is at its highest.

President Dmitry Medvedev has publicly criticised Russia's drinking problem and its effect on the nation's well being.

A study published last year in The Lancet medical journal said drinking has caused more than half of deaths among Russians aged 15 to 54 since the 1991 Soviet collapse.