Russians Drinking Less Vodka

Russian Vodka

Russians are drinking less vodka than they used to:

By the time Medvedev handed the presidency back to Putin in 2012, his anti-alcohol campaign had quietly produced marked improvements in Russian health. Consumption of all types of alcohol had dropped from 18 liters per capita to 15. Suicides, homicides, and—most telling—alcohol-poisoning deaths occurred less frequently. In 2011, “only” 11,700 Russians died from alcohol poisoning, quite a drop from the average of 36,000 a year during Putin’s first eight years (2000-08) but still some 50 times higher than the rate in Europe and North America. The same year, combined life expectancy for men and women surpassed 70 years (64.3 for men, 76.1 for women) for the first time since 1986, during Mikhail Gorbachev’s anti-alcohol campaign.

What implications this has for current events in Ukraine is unclear.

FILED UNDER: The Presidency, ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. al-Ameda says:

    Have they thought about Kool Aid as a substitute?

    Seriously though, if they are reducing vodka in-take, that is definitely a good thing.

  2. grumpy realist says:

    Except that you have to about double the per capita amount, because the women drink far less than the men, in my experience….

  3. Slugger says:

    These numbers are puzzling. Fifteen liters per capita without giving a time span is confusing. It’s twenty bottles. Is this a week of consumption? Seems like a lot even for real alcoholics. Per month? The article says alcohol…what strength? Is the measure volume? Russians drink lower alcohol beverages like beer and kvass. It does look like the Russians are making good progress under Putin.