Author`s name Michael Simpson

Even Large Distilleries Produce Illegal Vodka in Russia

Every year the state bears losses at the rate of 8-12 billion rubles because of illegal production and sale of alcohols
Deputy Head of the 2nd research bureau of the Criminal Police department for fighting with economic crimes Yury Zakharenkov reported on Tuesday that the Interior Ministry was troubled with the fact that illegal alcohol drinks were produced at large distilleries. In other words, it is not vodka of low quality that is considered illegal now (indeed, it is produced at the same distilleries where vodka of good quality is made), but vodka producers of which evade to pay taxes and excises.

The number of primitive vodka factories producing alcohols dangerous for life is reducing, because risks that illegal production runs return less and less interest. Every year the state bears losses at the rate of 8-12 billion rubles because of illegal production and sale of alcohols.
 
The figure reveals that about 20% of strong drinks sold in Russia are fake. In 2002, law enforcement authorities discovered 339,300 violations connected with production and sale of strong drinks and spirit-based liquids; the number of violations registered within the 1st quarter of 2003 made up 51,500 instances. What is more, import of fake excise stamps meant for alcohol drinks is gathering steam from Turkey, China and Germany. Recently, the police seized a batch of 480,000 excise stamps faked in China. The police reports, the quality of the fakes is very high.
 
One of the most serious problems now is to find out whether distilleries produce illegal vodka together with legal one or not. For example, law enforcement authorities in Kabardino-Balkaria arrested 140,000 bottles of illegal vodka produced by the Ekiston company. If the vodka hadn't been arrested, the losses of the state would have amounted to 1.9 million rubles. Unfortunately, there is no information on illegal vodka production at Moscow's Cristall distillery. Fake vodka of the sort produced at Cristall, the one called Gzhelka has been recently seen on sale; however this fact doesn't mean that the fake vodka was produced at Cristall.

Igor Bulanov, the head of the Interior Ministry's department for fighting with economic crimes says that traditionally only brands popular among middle class customers (the category where one bottle price doesn't exceed 100 rubles) are illegally produced or faked. As for more expensive drinks, cognacs for example, they are seldom faked but often smuggled. This year smuggling of expensive alcoholic drinks has considerably increased.
 
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