Overtaxed Russkies Drunk on Anti-Freeze Martinis


Reader Brendan Themes sends along this news bit he rightly deems "simultaneously hilarious and repugnant" about how a tax hike on hooch in Russia had led to a massive increase in industrial-strength cocktails:

Production of drinks concocted from perfume, skincare products and anti-freeze increased by 38.2 percent in the first five months of 2005 compared with the same period in 2004, while vodka production fell 9.4 percent, according to data from Russia's National Alcohol Association….

Pavel Shapkin, director of the association, which represents the interests of drinks producers and consumers, blamed recent tax hikes on vodka for the increase in consumption of vodka substitutes.

A quarter of a litre of these "surrogate" drinks costs around 14 roubles (63c), while the same amount of vodka costs 70 roubles ($3.16), Shapkin said.

"The increase in alcohol surrogates is because of tax legislation on vodka," he told Izvestiya.

I'm not sure I buy Comrade Shapkin's argument completely, but it sounds plausible.

Whole account here.