In the heat of vetoing a UN resolution on Syria, bracing against anti-Putin protests, and dealing with news that a Russian submarine carrying nuclear warheads burst into flames, Russia is taking on its greatest challenge yet:
The premium vodka market.
RIA Novosti reports that the Russian government has launched its own brand of vodka, to be served at official events. According to Bloomberg, the Kremlin has already registered six trademarks, including Kremlin Vodka, Kremlin Beer and Kremlin Lemonade, with the idea of raising revenues through name licensing and beverage sales.
The vodka is already being served at official events, a government spokesperson told RIA Novosti, though plans for availability outside the administration were not given. The New York Post reports that one online retailer was already selling the government booze, however, at the reasonable cost of 792 rubles, or $26.
The government's vodka line comes despite reports on Russia's disturbing rates of alcoholism. President Dmitry Medvedev had previously expressed shock at Russians' average vodka consumption -- a staggering 18 liters per person a year, according to official data.