A bill proposing to increase excise duty on beer by 200% from 2010 has been sent to Russia’s State Duma, the country’s lower house of parliament. The bill also includes an increase in 2011 of 11% and a 20% increase in 2012, MarketWatch reports.
President Dmitry Medvedev has said alcoholism is “a national disaster” and is leading a campaign against it. On average, every Russian drinks 18 liters of pure alcohol a year, more than twice the level defined as dangerous by the World Health Organization.
The draft bill has provoked an outcry from the mostly foreign-owned brewing industry. The bill provides for only a 10% increase in the excise duty on strong alcohol like vodka, which account for close to 70% of total alcohol consumption in Russia compared to 20% and 30% in most of the European Union.
Is the government trying to force beer drinkers to switch to vodka and brake fluid? If so, then we might need to redefine the term “national disaster,” quips Eternal Remont. Take that alchoholism!