February 23rd, 2011

Medvedev’s “Drinking Problem”

Russian Productivity Lags as Alcohol Consumption Soars

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, PHOTO: AFP

Along with the corruption and red tape, Western corporations mulling risk premiums on investments in Russia have long discounted the impact excessive alcohol consumption has had on plummeting worker productivity. But despite decades of sobriety campaigns, the Kremlin now estimates that Russians consume 32 pints of pure alcohol per capita per year, more than double the World Health Organization’s recommended maximum. Andrew Osborn of the Telegraph reports that an estimated 500,000 people die for alcohol-related reasons in Russia every year, something President Dmitry Medvedev has dubbed “a national disaster.”

So along with battling bribery, modernizing operations, simplifying regulations and creating reliable infrastructure, add reducing the number of alcohol-related “sick days” to President Medvedev’s daunting to-do list as he fights to lure crucial outside investment.

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