Moscow - Russia plans to raise minimum vodka prices next year as it seeks to reduce consumption of alcohol, despite risks that drinkers will resort instead to cheaper illegal liquor.
Alcoholism is estimated to contribute to 30 percent of deaths in the nation of 143 million, according to medical surveys.
Russia's government imposed minimum prices for strong spirits such as vodka and brandy in 2010 and has been raising the bar annually to factor in increases in excise taxes and inflation.
According to a draft decree published on a government website the cheapest half-litre bottle of vodka will cost 199 roubles from January 1, up 17 percent from the current 170 roubles.
The price will rise further to 220 roubles from August 1, bringing total increases next year to almost 30 percent over 2013.