Russia has dropped the minimum price of vodka by 16 percent in an attempt to ward off a rise in moonshine consumption, spurred on by the falling ruble and contracting economy.
The minimum price of vodka is now 185 rubles for half a liter, down from 220 rubles.
The minimum retail price for vodka was first set in 2009 as part of a crackdown on binge drinking. In 2014 the minimum price was raised from 89 rubles to 199 rubles and then to a record high of 220 rubles per bottle.
A markup of the minimal price for hard liquor, however, has only increased illegal alcohol’s share in overall consumption.
According to state statistics service Rosstat, vodka production in Russia fell 22 percent last year. The deepest recession was in December, the peak of the ruble crash, when production plummeted 47 percent compared to the same period a year earlier.
Counterfeit alcohol consumption has grown "as much as 65 percent" in the years since the government policy was introduced, said Vadim Drobiz, the head of the Center for Federal and Regional Alcohol Market Studies, an independent think tank.
The situation is expected to become even worse as rising inflation steadily eats away at Russians’ salaries, forcing them to cut spending, including on legal spirits.
ward off：動詞片語，抵擋、阻止。例句：We built fires to ward off the cold.（我們生火驅除寒意。）
moonshine：名詞，非法釀製的烈酒（蒸餾酒）；另有名詞「胡言亂語」之意。例句：He is just talking moonshine.（他只是胡言亂語。）
markup：名詞，漲價、漲價額，利潤。例如：a markup of 50 dollars（漲價50元）