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Putin Orders Vodka Price Cap Amid Economic Crisis

Russian President Vladimir Putin has instructed the government to curb rising vodka prices amid an aggravating economic crisis.

Putin told a meeting with government officials and regional governors on December 24 that high vodka prices encouraged the consumption of illegal and possibly unsafe alcohol.

Russia is facing its worst economic crisis since 1998, while the ruble has lost value recently due to falling oil prices and Western sanctions.

Annual inflation is expected to exceed 10 percent this year.

According to Reuters news agency, a leading university study found last year that a quarter of Russian men die before reaching their mid-50s.

Alcohol was found to be a contributing factor in some of these early deaths.

Reuters reported that the government-regulated minimum price of half a liter of vodka has increased by around 30 percent since last year, the to 220 rubles ($4.10).

Based on reporting by Reuters and TASS