But Vadim Drobiz, the director of the Moscow Center for Research on Federal and Regional Alcohol Markets, has his doubts about the ministry’s ability to monitor alcohol consumption in the ways that it promises because more money will be needed to monitory “the very large size of illegal production” of alcohol of various kinds.
Moreover, he points out, one can’t compare consumption in 2008 with that in 2018 because the structure of the population has changed: “Today, young people between 18 and 28 are only half as numerous as they were a decade ago.” This group drinks as much per capita as it ever did, but the total is smaller because the numbers in the cohort are.
According to Drobiz, the real per capita consumption of alcohol in Russia has remained more or less constant at the level of 12.5 liters a year. If he is right, then Moscow has completely failed to cut total consumption despite the claims that it routinely makes to the contrary. Other experts like Igor Kosaryev, head of the Union of Alcohol Producers, agree.
He says that the government’s actions to cut consumption have done little except shift consumption away from officially registered and thus relatively safe alcohol to illegal production, samogon, and surrogates which are far more dangerous to public health. Consequently, the ministry’s program may have exactly the opposite effect it wants.