Remember when Medvedev called alcoholism "a national disaster" and vowed to fight it? Putin has responded to the challenge. Under a new law, the Duma will impose a 200% tax increase on beer, followed by a 11% increase in 2011, and a 20% increase in 2012.
According to Marketwatch, the draft bill has prompted howls from "the mostly foreign-owned brewing industry whose profits are bound to be hurt by the measures."
Clearly, Putin's Duma only believes that alcoholism is a problem for Russians who drink Baltika and other foreign-owned labels. Meanwhile, those who can’t afford the tax will have to switch to mouthwash, or -- wait for it -- domestically-produced vodka.
Is that what we were trying to accomplish Medvedev, to force beer drinkers to switch to vodka and brake fluid? If so, then we might need to redefine the term "national disaster."
Take that alchoholism!