Russia tightens regulations on alcohol

From June 2015, distribution of basic household products containing over 0.5 % alcohol is not possible in Russia.

Since June 2015, distribution of many everyday goods, such as toothpaste and cleaning products, is a complicated case in Russia. New federal regulations on alcohol consumption state that products containing over 0.5 percent alcohol are subject to licensing.


Russia has imposed stricter limitations on alcohol consumption. From June 2015, manufacturers and retailers of products containing more than 0.5 percent alcohol must get a special license from the Federal Service for Alcohol Market Regulation (FSAMR), NEWSRU reports.

The new regulations, which went into force on June 1, are part of Russia’s measures to fight alcoholism in the population. As previously reported by the BarentsObserver, the federal government plans to reduce consumption by fifty percent by 2020.

Several measures have already been taken towards this goal: alcohol sales have been restricted with shorter sale hours in stores, and alcohol taxation has been increased.  

Before the latest law amendments went into force, the allowed amount of alcohol in products was 1.5 percent before licencing was required. From June 1, any content higher than 0.5 percent requires a license. 

Alarm to yogurt and kitchen cleaner manufacturers  
In practical terms, this impacts a relativey wide range of products. Examples of products containing over 0.5 percent alcohol include common household items, such as cleaning products, detergents, soaps and cosmetics. Certain dairy products like kefir or yogurt have an alcohol content of 1-1.3 percent. Toothpaste can contain up to one percent alcohol, while kitchen cleaners and laundry detergents contail up to five percent alcohol.

Manufacturers and retailers are concerned with the implications of the new regulations. As reported by Ekho Moskvy, executive director of the Association of manufacturers of perfumes, cosmetics, household chemicals and hygiene, Peter Bobrovskiy, said in an interview that the manufacturers may be the most affected by the new amendments.

“[The association has] requested an official explanation of what to do with the products affected by the [new] amendments, reducing the percentage of alcohol from 1.5 to 0.5 percent. For retailers, the solution is clear – they can simply remove these products from the shelves. The manufacturer, however, is in much more complicated situation. There are several companies, where these products account for a substantial part of the turnover, and changing the range or formula of the products requires quite a long time.”

FSAMR has created an interactive web portal with an overview of alcohol licenses in the country. The map shows the number of licenses in each regional unit in Russia, and the number of reported violations.

According to the portal, there are currently 8,587 licenses in Barents Russia and, so far, no violations.

BarentsObserver (generated via Piktochart)

Russia’s fight against alcoholism from a statistical viewpoint
Statistics published on Patchwork Barents show that wine and distilled beverage sales are dropping in Barents Russia. The amount of liters sold per inhabitant decreased in all the five Russian oblasts between 2012 and 2014. Over this period, Nenets AO has registered the largest reduction: from 48.65 to 32.41 (-16.24) liters per inhabitant. Arkhangelsk Oblast came second with -11.75 liters per inhabitant. The smallest reduction was registered in Murmansk Oblast – the region went from 40.38 to 33.18 (-7.2) liters per inhabitant. 

Meanwhile, beer sales have increased considerably in Barents Russia. In two years (2012-2014), Arkhangelsk Oblast registered the highest increase: from 54.71 to 63.40 (+8.7) liters per inhabitant. The Republic of Komi had the lowest increase (+0.62 liters per inhabitant), although the region had a relatively high sales rate to begin with, 108 liters per inhabitant (2012). Overall in the accounting period, beer sales have gone up by 4.04 liters per inhabitant in Barents Russia.