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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

President Seeks State Controls on Liquor

KALININGRAD -- President Vladimir Putin on Saturday called for greater state control over Russia's hard- alcohol industry, decrying what he said was rampant production of poor-quality alcohol that kills 40,000 Russians a year.

Speaking at a State Council meeting, Putin said the government should make the alcohol industry a state monopoly.

"It's obvious that the existing system doesn't work. It's ineffective," he said.

"I believe that this problem [poor-quality alcohol] would be solved in the best way possible if one pushed for government decisions that would in effect result in a state monopoly over alcohol."

A state monopoly in vodka was a considerable source of revenue for the treasuries of both tsarist and Soviet Russia.

Putin's comments come as ministers have pushed for the sale of Rosspirtprom, the state-owned alcohol producer that accounts for about 60 percent of the country's spirit production.

(AP, Reuters)