Blog: Olly WehringThe economy - how bad is it? Ask the Russians

Olly Wehring | 25 November 2008

Just how murky is the economic gloom enveloping us all? You only have to ask the Russians.

I read an interesting piece from Reuters yesterday, which claimed that Russian drinkers are veering away from vodka in an attempt to save money, resulting in a glut of the drink in the country's supply chain. "People are having to save money, including on drinks, and this is connected to the impact of the financial crisis on people's disposable incomes," Pavel Shapkin, president of the National Alcohol Association, told Reuters.

So, they're drinking less, right? Wrong. The number of deaths from alcohol poisonings in September in the country rose to 1,458, Shapkin added, as consumers look to get their fix from all manner of illicit sources.

Speaking to a senior executive at a vodka company today, I found that the situation in Russia really is as bad as Reuters suggested. “Retailers in Russia are demanding longer credit terms,” he told me. “It's sliding up the chain.”

You know it's bad when the Russians aren't drinking vodka.


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