Russia has seen a fall in alcohol sales over the past two years from 18 liters to 15 liters per capita a year, First Deputy Prime Minister V. Zubkov said on Wednesday.
In an interview with the Rossiiskaya Gazeta daily, he attributed the drop to a number of restrictions that have been enforced recently with more restrictions to come next year.
Illicit vodka sales have also fallen and now account for a little over 20%, he said.
“Of course this level is far from satisfactory but remember that just a couple years ago it was almost 50%,” Zubkov said.
The restrictions already in force include a ban on late-night sales of alcohol, and in an effort to fight bootlegging, Russia has introduced a minimum price for vodka.
The Russian government has declared an anti-alcohol campaign and aims to halve consumption by 2020 and root out illegal production and sales.
Official statistics in Russia show more than 23,000 people die of alcohol poisoning annually. According to Russia's Public Chamber, some 500,000 people die annually from alcohol-related diseases.
Despite the latest decline, alcohol consumption in Russia is almost double the critical level set by the World Health Organization (WHO).