Drink anymore, but vodka is not the end: the paradoxes of the Russian alcohol market

Burst, swing, pop, drop… There’s a good reason: January 31 — birthday: celebrated the 153rd anniversary of the invention of Russian vodka, the favorite drink in our country, long turned into one of our absolute unofficial state symbols, along with balalaika, matryoshka and walking the streets with bears. On this day in 1865 Dmitri Mendeleev defended his dissertation “On combining alcohol and water”, which had formulated the idea about the standard of sorokogradusnuyu drink, and received the title of Professor of St. Petersburg University.


photo: Gennady Cherkasov

Although the historical truth claim that is a myth and the great Creator of the periodic table of chemical elements did not build plans for the invention of the iconic alcoholic beverage, and conducted purely scientific experiments with water-alcohol solution. Discovered unusual properties of the impact on the human body resulting liquid is a byproduct of the study.

However, the birthday of vodka is scheduled for January 31. Although the state represented by the Ministry of health and other responsible agencies are trying by all means to spoil the holiday for people and to eradicate hunger of the Russians to sorokogradusnuyu drink. So serious pressure green snake has not experienced since the “dry law” in the name of Mikhail Gorbachev.

Whatever it was, the attack on the birthday girl goes on all fronts: the excise tax on alcohol is constantly raise, regulate the trading of alcohol, introduce the ban on the sale of vodka to people in a state of intoxication. Hot heads even offer to pour in the alcohol-containing liquid emetic to ward off lovers of spirits from addiction to hops.

Like acts. As estimated by the national Union of consumer protection, in 2017, the retail trade volume of almost all alcoholic beverages in Russia has significantly decreased. And more than just hurt our heroine, whose sales fell by 17%. Are today’s legislative initiative allowed members of the Cabinet of Ministers to do what was impossible their predecessors — if not to root to deal with a drunken stupor Russia, at least, undermine trade in the dope-water? No matter how this is achieved — whip, that is, by increasing prices and restrictions on trade and consumption, or stick, through the promotion of healthy lifestyles and cultural activities. The main thing — result, and the winners are not judged.

However, if you look carefully, it becomes obvious that vodka, and other alcoholic beverages, is no less popular. As according to industry experts, drink and buy alcohol is not diminished. Just changed the criteria of assessment of drinking: early measurement of this indicator was doing Rosstat, and then began to count using an automated accounting system — EGAIS. And at first took only sale in the cities and only in the middle of last year, the statistics included in the rural settlement. If we start from the production, the conclusions are these: although state legislative maneuvers and propaganda of healthy lifestyle, the consumption of the same vodka in Russia grew last year at 7-9%. The same data results in Rosalkogolregulirovanie. So our birthday girl, despite its age, is very much alive and the demand for it over the years is not falling. No increase in excise duties and minimum prices for a pint to get in the holiday now.

By the way, about the prices. I remember the folklore of the early 1980-ies, when the vodka instead of the usual 3.62 ruble was worth 5.3 ruble: “Even if eight, still we drink will not abandon!”. Given the fact that now the minimum price of fair more than 200 virtually any, I think, rhyme is updated: “If it is three hundred and eight, still we drink will not abandon!”.

In General, we can say that the green dragon in Russia is invincible. Therefore, it may be, to approach this issue from the other side? Now sold in Russia about 30 billion bottles of all alcoholic beverages in the year. May be, to impose a special “tax on health”, the proceeds of which will go to building free stadiums, cultural centers or elementary treatment of alcoholism? If you take a ruble from every bottle, every year such an article would bring in 30 billion roubles. It would be a solid popular gift for the birthday of our shared favorite…

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