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Russia Considers Doubling Minimum Vodka Price

The Russian government has taken steps to curb widespread alcohol abuse.
Russia is considering doubling the minimum price of vodka to 200 rubles ($6.30) by 2013.

Deputy Finance Minister Sergei Shatalov said today that "vodka should not be cheap; it is not a product of first necessity."

President Dmitry Medvedev last year ordered new measures to curb alcohol abuse. The average Russian drinks some 18 liters of pure alcohol each year.

In January, Russia raised taxes on beer and introduced a minimum vodka price of 89 rubles per half liter, effectively doubling the cost of the cheapest bottle.

Now the Finance Ministry has proposed increasing the minimum price to 120 rubles in 2011, and may implement a further hike by 2013.

compiled from agency reports