("Vodka searches keep on rising")
The Guardian today reports that using "sensationalist adverts, steep price rises and bombastic rhetoric, Russia is pulling out all the stops to curb the national love affair with vodka that is estimated to cause 500,000 deaths a year, especially among men", adding: "A series of haunting ads broadcast round the clock on state-run television show in graphic detail the damage that the drink can do. Viewers follow a gulp of the spirit down a man's throat – vodka is blamed particularly for premature deaths among men – from where it travels to his heart, lungs, brain and liver, causing explosions akin to bomb blasts."
Unfortunately for President Dmitry Medvedev searches for 'водка' (vodka in Russian) have climbed steeply each year, with 'vodka price' (водка цена) the main driver of searches. Moscow, St Petersburg, Novosibirsk and Yekaterinburg lead the way in search volumes.
Mikhail Gorbachev's anti-alcohol campaign was reported to have contributed to a rise in his unpopularity. With the presidential election just one year away, a similar effect on Medvedev's ratings could be just the tonic Vladimir Putin needs for his much-anticipated return to power.