Image by Anthony Knuppel Appleton
Russians have long had a love affair with vodka, and other spirits, to the detriment of their health. Now the Russian government is trying to change their drinking habits, to substitute wine instead of the favorite–vodka.
Red wine has been touted in the West due to its alleged heart benefits.
Alexander Tkachyov, head of the Russian Agriculture Ministry, said that Russians should be encouraged to drink wine as a substitute for stronger alcoholic drinks such as vodka.
“We are a country which generally drinks strong alcohol like vodka or moonshine,” Tkachyov told Russian television channel NTV. “This not only robs people of their health, but also of their lives. By drinking more wine, Russians could see the country’s health and demographic problems change for the better,” reported The Moscow Times.
“The Russian market is shifting in favor of wine. People are beginning to understand and be interested in quality wine…Of course, everything has to be in moderation: You can die from drinking a bucket of water. Wine must also be taken in moderation, even though the majority of Russians don’t understand that.”
Of course the Kremlin is also trying to diversify the Russian economy and the production of domestic wine is part of that process.