Amid a financial crisis that is cutting jobs and eroding growth, there is finally good news for Russians.
The head of the new state alcohol agency, gleefully dubbed the "Ministry for Vodka" by the press, is advocating cutting taxes on vodka to make the country's national tipple more accessible, the Izvestia daily reported.
AdvertisementIgor Chuiyan, the former head of state alcohol monopoly Rosspirtprom, has been appointed head of the new federal agency for alcohol market regulation, or Rosalkogol for short.
Without citing its sources, the paper said he advocates slashing the tax on a litre of pure alcohol from the current 190.8 rubles (six dollars) to 100 rubles (three dollars).
This would mean that the tax on half litre of vodka would be cut to around 20 rubles from the current rate of 38 rubles, it said.
Such a move would be part of Rosalkogol's mission to crack down on the serious problem of the selling of contraband alcohol which according to Izvestia means that one of every three bottles of vodka sold in Russia is fake.
The selling of fake contraband alcohol not only has serious economic consequences for manufacturers but also for the health of Russians, dozens of whom die each year from drinking adulterated vodka.
According to some reports, Russians have also been cutting down their consumption of bought vodka during the economic crisis and resorting to homemade spirits known as samagon.
Izvestia said that Chuiyan could this year also impose a minimum price of around 95-100 rubles for vodka to stop Russians buying dangerously cheap spirits.