The opening of a vodka museum in Moscow in April (ITAR-TASS)
October 27, 2006 -- Russia's Health and Social Development Ministry said today that about 40,000 people die annually from alcohol poisoning in the country.
The ministry said that the number does not include people who die of chronic diseases related to alcoholism and those who die in various incidents while drunk.
The ministry estimates that the country has about 2 million alcoholics and that, in part because of alcohol, the life expectancy of men is 12-14 years shorter than that of women.
On October 26, Russia's northwestern region of Pskov declared a health emergency after tainted alcohol killed 15 people and sent at least 400 others to the hospital.
However, the Health Ministry says excessive drinking is a more serious problem than poor-quality alcohol.