Closing a Part of Russia’s Roots

Alcohol consumption is deeply engraved into the cultural roots of Russia. It was one of the largest ways that Russia gets its revenue. Production and distribution of alcohol to other areas lead Russia to be a front runner. “In 1979, for example, the state derived some 25.4 billion rubles in indirect taxes from the sale of alcoholic beverages which was more than were paid in income tax. Alcoholism, however, was a major scourge in Soviet society, linked to high rates of child-abuse, suicide, divorce, absenteeism, and accidents on the job, and contributing to a rise in mortality rates particularly among Soviet males that was detected in the 1970’s (Seventeen Moments).” This is an example of why alcohol was becoming more of a negative aspect than a positive one.

“In May 1985, less than two months after becoming General Secretary of the Communist Party, Mikhail Gorbachev launched a campaign against alcohol abuse, backing it up with a series of measures to reduce alcohol production and sales. These included limiting the kinds of shops permitted to sell alcohol, closing many vodka distilleries and destroying vineyards in the wine-producing republics of Moldavia, Armenia and Georgia, and banning the sale of alcohol in restaurants before two o’clock in the afternoon (Seventeen Moments).”

alcohol campaign


Instances of alcohol poisoning rose, as hard drinkers turned to other, more dangerous, substances.

“At the height of the campaign, official alcohol sales had fallen by as much as two-thirds. (”

Moonshine became more popular during this campaign.

Works Cited:

Geldern, James Von. “Anti-Alcohol Campaign.” Seventeen Moments in Soviet History. N.p., 29 June 2015. Web. 03 May 2016. <;.

Bhattacharya, Jay, Christina Gathmann, and Grant Miller. “The Gorbachev Anti-Alcohol Campaign and Russia’s Mortality Crisis.” American Economic Journal. Applied Economics. U.S. National Library of Medicine, n.d. Web. 03 May 2016. <;.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s