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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Alcohol Monopolized

MOSCOW -- Russia announced Thursday that it was imposing a monopoly on the production and sale of hard liquor, saying the move was based as much on social concerns as on economic necessity.

Under the new plan, officially announced by Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov, the government will take a controlling stake in enterprises producing beverages with alcohol content higher than 28 percent.

The plan, which Interfax said would take affect Oct. 1, also calls for limiting the number of licenses issued to companies to produce alcohol. More than 800 such companies now operate officially in Russia.

In addition, Gennady Kulik, deputy prime minister in charge of agriculture, said the government intended to tighten control over beer and wine.