If you haven’t spent a whole evening in Moscow whiling away the hours and talking with friends over a bottle of fine vodka, then you haven’t yet had a real Russian experience. Unfortunately beyond the stereotypes, boisterous celebrations, and cultural role of the country’s favorite libation lies a seriously frightening and deadly problem. In the News Blast today you may have seen the links to the new study published by the Lancet on the staggering death toll caused by alcohol consumption in Russia, which found that some 52% of deaths are caused by drinking-related incidents.
There are some clear regulatory connections to the problem, as the drinking rates soared once the Soviet era controls were lifted (this is what the Left may refer to as the victims of free markets). Anyways, the Lancet and others are recommending that Russia introduce new controls and/or taxes to curb the problem: “Russia must stop or tax the illicit production of spirits, believed to account for at least 50 per cent of consumption in the country. This in turn means confrontation with organised criminals and corrupt officials.“
Then again, I am left wondering why so many people would botherconsuming gutrot illegal booze – which I assume is related to the highprices and taxes off the shelf. Wouldn’t that mean that more taxeswould just cause the black market to flourish? Why no mention ofpublic subsidies for early prevention, recovery, and awareness programs?
Although certainly not a bellwether of the official line of thought, according to RussiaToday, this is the most healthy country in the world, so let’s hope officials don’t get their news from the propaganda outlets.