Russia: Vodka minimum price cut over economic woes

Employees at a Russian vodka distillery Image copyright AFP
Image caption Minimum vodka prices were introduced in 2010 in order to limit alcohol consumption

Russia has cut the minimum price of vodka in order to try and stop people turning to moonshine, it's reported.

Half a litre of the spirit can now cost as little as 185 roubles ($2.70; £1.80), a reduction of 16% on the previous minimum price of 220 roubles, The Moscow Times website reports. Authorities are hoping the move will stop people consuming illegally distilled spirits, which often have a higher alcohol content. Russia first introduced a minimum price for vodka in 2010, in an attempt to cut binge drinking. But as the economy worsened and prices rose in 2014, more people took to buying illegal alcohol, the website says. Russia's economic woes continue despite government efforts to stabilise the currency. The rouble's value plummeted 41% against the dollar during 2014, pushing inflation up to 11.4%.

The new minimum vodka price has been met with some wry responses on Russian social media, with some users complaining that vodka is the only thing that's falling in price. "When the really hard times come, they will be distributing vodka for free and making sure that you drink it," says Twitter user Dyadushka Shu. "Price of a metro ticket has gone up, price of vodka has slumped. No money for a ride? No problem!" Dmitry Balkunets tweets. "Get vodka, get drunk and forget about your plans."

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