Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Tuesday shed light on a major Russian plague - alcoholism, which seems to have only worsened since the bleak 1990s after the collapse of the Soviet Union. He has now called for a tougher fight against alcoholism in Russia.
"We drink more than in the 1990s, though times were hard then. We must prepare a step-by-step program and take measures against this," he said during a meeting with Health Minister Tatyana Golikova, according to the RIA Novosti news agency.
Alcohol abuse kills some 500,000 Russians annually and greatly impacts male life expectancy which is lower than in impoverished countries such as Bangladesh or Honduras, the Russian civil chamber's report published in mid-June said.
Former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev said Monday in televised comments that the country was on the brink of "catastrophe" in the matter and that "a serious campaign" against alcoholism was required.
In the 1980s, Gorbachev initiated a drastic anti-alcoholism programme, limiting state production and combatting undercover distilleries and domestic producers, much to popular outrage.