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To Drink or Not to Drink: Demand for Alcohol in Modern Russia

P. 644-651.

The problem of alcoholism in Russia remains one of the most urgent in the beginning of the XXI century as well as hundred years ago. The features of alcohol use in modern Russian society make it possible to consider it as a very dangerous. Many key parameters of alcohol use and its consequences have dramatically rose during the last 20 years (volume of alcohol consumption, morbidity and mortality rates, criminality because of abusing spirits, susceptibility to alcoholism of various socially- demographic groups and population strata). World health organization (WHO) experts assert that every fifth man in Russia and the CIS countries dies of the illnesses due to alcohol consumption. According to WHO experts, annual consumption of pure alcohol more than eight liters is hazardous to health and also to human life [WHO, 2010]. At the same time Rosstat2 data show that spirits sales (in pure alcohol per capita) exceeded 9 liters a year in 2009 in Russia. But some other experts believe it to be considerably higher (up to 18 liters per capita including moonshine).

Consumption of substances changing of consciousness and producing the dependence effect (in particular alcohol, cigarettes, drugs) is named “addictive behavior”. From the economic point of view, the use of these goods damage population health. This one, in turn, influences incomes, efficiency, expenses on services of public health system. “The total tangible cost of alcohol to the European Union as it existed in 2003, has been estimated at €125 billion, 1,3% of the gross domestic product” [WHO, 2010, p. 8].