Vodka prices: Putin calls for cap amid economic crisis

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Employees of the 'Fayur-Soyuz' vodka distillery in Beslan on 28 September 2007Image source, afp/Getty Images
Image caption,
There are fears rising vodka prices are pushing some Russians towards illegal liquor

Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered his government to curb rising vodka prices.

Mr Putin, who has been hit by increasing economic woes, said that high prices encouraged the consumption of illegal and possibly unsafe alcohol.

Russia's currency, the rouble, has lost value recently due to falling oil prices and Western sanctions.

The country's former finance minister warned that Russia would enter recession next year.

Contributing factor

Mr Putin, who promotes a healthy lifestyle, asked "relevant agencies" to think about what he said, adding that the government should fight against the illegal trafficking of alcohol.

According to a leading university study last year, 25% of Russian men die before reaching their mid-50s, Reuters reports.

Alcohol was found to be a contributing factor in some of these early deaths.

Since last year, the government-regulated minimum price of half a litre (17 oz) of vodka has increased by around 30% to 220 roubles ($4.10; £2.64), Reuters adds.

It is not just vodka that has seen a price rise. Annual inflation in Russia currently stands at 9.4%.