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Russia to keep vodka prices down in 2015

The Russian government has decided not to raise the minimum price of vodka in 2015 following the growth of the illegal market.

The minimum price of vodka will not be raised in in Russia next year in order to combat the prevalence of the black market

In August this year, Russia increased the minimum price of vodka up to 220 rubles (£2.60) for a 500ml bottle. The price had already been increased in March 2014, from 170 rubles (£2.02) to 199 rubles (£2.37).

However, the current minimum price will remain the same next year in line with the government’s decision to freeze excise taxes on spirits with alcohol content over 9%

Figures released earlier this year showed that Russia’s illegal vodka trade accounted for 55% of the entire vodka market in 2013, while legal production declined by almost 17% in the first quarter of 2014 due to continued tax hikes.

Taxes have been hoisted consistently over recent years in order to combat the country’s widespread alcoholism problem, with data showing that vodka is a major cause of “premature” male deaths in Russia.

Igor Chuyan, chief of Russia’s Federal Service for Alcohol Market Regulation, told The Moscow Times: “We see a concrete connection between lower vodka sales and higher vodka prices.”

High inflation and shrinking salaries are also likely to have affected the move, with inflation set to reach 7.5% next year.

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