Medvedev launches anti-alcohol campaign

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has called for decisive measures against alcoholism. Earlier, he told Minister of Health Tatyana Golikova that fighting alcoholism is “vital for Russia’s survival.”

Russians drink around 18 litres of absolute alcohol per year, which is nearly 50 bottles of vodka for every resident, including each newly-born baby, Medvedev pointed out recently.

According to doctors, the annual consumption of more than 9-10 litres of alcohol per resident leads to problems with the nation’s gene pool and to retrogressive evolution, Medvedev warned.

Almost three million Russians are heavy drinkers, according to Russia’s consumer protection agency, Rospotrebnadzor. In 2007, more than 75,000 Russians died prematurely because of alcoholism.

The World Health Organization (WHO) predicts that only about 40% of Russian school graduates in 2009 survive until pension. The corresponding figure in Britain, for instance, is 90%.

According to statistics, alcohol is the cause of nearly 500,000 deaths yearly in Russia. Around 30% of male deaths and 16% of female deaths are related to the consumption of alcohol.

Russian lawmakers have proposed measures to regulate the country’s alcohol market. Vladimir Putin’s United Russia and Vladimir Zhirinovsky’s LDPR have proposed that a state monopoly on the production and trade of spirits be established.

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