Alcohol Consumption in Russia

Alcohol Consumption within Russia
Many nations around the world are renowned for their associations with particular alcoholic beverages.   France, for example, is well known for its phenomenal wine, Germany for its abundance of high quality beers and Ireland for its specific perfection in regards to Guinness.   Few nations, however, are as easily associated with a product as Russia is with Vodka.   As a major factor in the country’s economy, control of alcohol production has long been an issue that politicians have struggled with.   Attempting to balance the huge financial impact that the sale of alcohol has on its economy, with the social impact it has on the people of Russia.  
In 1914 and again in 1918, the government had instituted what were known as “semi-dry” laws (NEMTSOV 2005), under these regulations the only alcohol which was able to be produced had to remain under 20%.   A noticeable increase in the annual consumption of alcohol began to occur around the 1960’s where the public consumed 4.5L per year (NEMTSOV)   a number which increased quite dramatically with each following decade; jumping to 8.1L per year in 1970 and 10.5 in 1980 (NEMTSOV).   In 1985, then leader, Mikhail Gorbachev attempted to decrease the rates of consumption by implementing and anti-alcohol campaign. (NEMTSOV) At the time of implementation the estimated consumption rate per capita was 14.1L.   While this campaign was extremely successful in lowering the rate of sales at the state owned liquor stores by some 63% (NEMTSOV) the actually consumption rate fell only 25% due to a massive increase in illegal distilleries.   The attempt was by no means unsuccessful and in fact helped raise the average life expectancy for males by three years.   Unfortunately due to public outcry and the collapse of the Soviet Union consumption as well as life expectancy returned to their previous levels by 1991.  
While the people in Russia may wish to keep their sacred traditions surrounding alcohol and its...