The Russian alcohol market will not be hit by sales restrictions, according to the country's president.

In a televised question-and-answer session yesterday (25 October), Vladimir Putin said: "There will be no repetition of the experience of the 1980s, when we fought against alcohol use with prohibitive measures."

At the same time, Putin defended the introduction of new excise regulations in Russia earlier this year, which led to severe alcohol shortages on Russian shelves. The authorities failed to produce enough tax stamps for legitimate product, hitting availability of both domestic and imported alcoholic product. The measure is part of the Russian government's attempts to curb the amount of counterfeit and illegal alcohol in the market.

Despite defending the measures, Putin blamed the country's prime minister for failing to identify and punish officials responsible for the situation.

"Officials and the government - top-level officials - appeared unprepared, failed to take into account all the problems and the scale of the work that was to be done, and did not take prompt measures to bring order (to the market)," Putin said.