Amidst growing economic difficulties, Russian president Vladimir Putin has ordered his government to stop raising the price of vodka, for fear that higher costs would encourage “the consumption of illegal and possibly unsafe alcohol,” reports the BBC.
Russia, which has been dealing with Western sanctions related to its military aggression in the Ukraine, as well as falling oil prices, has been warned of an impending recession and “full-fledged economic crisis” by the country’s former finance minister, Alexei Kudrin.
The country is currently facing its worst economic crisis since 1998, when the country defaulted on its debt.
President Putin has reportedly contacted “relevant agencies” for help in controlling illegally trafficked alcohol. Since 2013, Russia’s regulated minimum price of half a liter of vodka has increased by about 30 percent to $220 RUB (approximately $3.76 USD).
"The overshoot of vodka prices leads only to increasing consumption of bootleg (spirits)," a statement from Putin reads. "I think the relevant structures (government bodies) should think of that."