#1 - JRL 7067
RUSSIAN CABINET UNEASY AS DRINKING SKYROCKETS
MOSCOW, February 18 /from RIA Novosti's Andrei Malosolov/ - Heavy drinking is getting ever worse as national vice, and causes grave concern of the Russian government. Official statistics evaluate annual per capita alcohol consumption at 8.4 litres, and unofficial 14-as against an average 3.5 in the Soviet years, said Alexei Gordeyev, Deputy Prime Minister, as he was summing up a government commission session for the media.
Prospects for closer government regulation of distilling and the alcoholic beverage market may be offered to the State Council for debates, he added.
The situation demands a federal concept of public protection, insists Mr. Gordeyev-complete with a healthy living campaign and thorough beverage quality monitoring. The latter issue is all the more topical as alcoholic beverages imply superprofits, stressed the vice-premier