Threats of alcohol nationalisation have been played down by the Russian Government. Speaking to reporters yesterday (5 July), Economic Development and Trade Minister German Gref said that the government was looking more at creating a state monopoly on pure alcohol wholesale and not its production.

The clarification follows comments by Vladimir Putin over the weekend, hinting that the government was looking to introduce a state monopoly on pure alcohol sales.

Gref said that no decision had been made on the issue yet, and that a proposal on pure alcohol wholesale monopoly could be tabled this autumn.

On Saturday (2 July), President Putin said that the current system of monitoring alcohol quality was failing due to corruption. "We could solve the problem if the government introduces a monopoly on liquor," he said.