Russian attitudes towards alcohol are slowly changing. Groups of friends can be seen ordering a bottle of wine or a cocktail instead of vodka. Someone who doesn't drink is no longer considered weird, and this change can be attributed to rising car ownership in large cities.
The most common cause of death in Russia is cardio-vascular disease related to alcohol consumption. The second most common cause is accidents, where the victim has usually been hitting the bottle.
Therefore, heavier restrictions on alcohol were introduced in 2009.
1) In most Russian towns and cities drinks containing more than 15% alcohol may not be sold between 11pm and 8am. Regions can even extend these hours.
2) The most radical step has been taken by Chechnya’s president Ramzan Kadyrov, who has restricted alcohol sales to two hours a day, from 8am to 10am.
3) There is a complete ban on TV advertising of vodka and wine, and beer advertising is strictly limited.
4) An excise stamp has been introduced, and no bottle can be sold without one. A minimum price, equivalent to about three euros, has been set for a half litre bottle of vodka.
Many of the anti-alcohol campaigners in Russia are members of nationalist youth organizations. To raise awareness, they organize periodic ‘Russian Runs’, where 50, 100 or even more young people get together for a two to three kilometre run. They use this opportunity to spread their message while promoting a healthy lifestyle.