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Russia struggles with growing illicit liquor trade

Russia struggles with growing illicit liquor trade


Source: The Spirits Business

by Melita Kiely

8th October, 2015


Russian prime minister Dmitry Medvedev has ordered a crackdown on illegal alcohol production in an effort to combat the growing popularity of counterfeit liquor in Russia.


The government published a decree on Monday instructing the nation’s alcohol marketing watchdog to destroy unlicensed products over 25% abv and any related manufacturing equipment, reported The Moscow Times.


However, the watchdog has not yet confirmed how the confiscated items will be destroyed.


The responsibility of tackling the rising counterfeit alcohol trade in Russia has been the responsibility of the Interior Ministry, which would send seized products to chemical plants to be redistributed into production.


Quite often, though, they would re-appear on the illegal black market, and as such the practice stopped and instead confiscated materials are kept in warehouses to be destroyed – but only after a court decision.


In 2009, the government introduced a minimum unit price for alcohol as part of a clampdown on binge drinking.


At the time, the Federal Service for Alcohol Market Regulations raised the minimum price from 89 rubles to 170 rubles (£3), before another hike in January 2014 to 199 rubles (£3.70).


This was increased to an all-time high in August 2014 of 220 rubles before the government took a u-turn in February 2015 to counteract the growing frequency of counterfeit production, thus reducing the minimum unit price to 185 rubles (£1.75).