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J Stud Alcohol Drugs. 2019 Sep;80(5):489-498.

Are Trends in Alcohol Consumption and Cause-Specific Mortality in Russia Between 1990 and 2017 the Result of Alcohol Policy Measures?

Nemtsov A1, Neufeld M2,3, Rehm J2,3,4,5,6,7.

Author information

Moscow Research Institute of Psychiatry, Moscow, Russia.
Institute of Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, Dresden Technical University, Dresden, Germany.
Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Institute for Mental Health Policy Research, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Campbell Family Mental Health Research Institute, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Institute of Medical Science, University of Toronto, Medical Sciences Building, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.



The purpose of this study was to analyze trends in alcohol consumption and mortality and their association with alcohol control measures in Russia between 1990 and 2017.


Analysis of trends for all-cause mortality and alcohol-related mortality, life expectancy, and total adult per capita alcohol consumption and their relationship were conducted. A narrative literature review of alcohol control policies since 1990 was done.


Corresponding trends of alcohol consumption and all-cause mortality and cause-specific mortality were observed for the analyzed period. Steep increases in consumption and mortality occurred in 1991-1994 and in 1998-2002, and a continuous decline was observed since 2003. Trends in alcohol consumption were also closely mirrored by trends in life expectancy. These dynamics seem to be affected by economic trends and alcohol control policies, which were increasingly implemented over the observation period, even though some measures remained vague.


A combination of several factors seems to be at play to explain alcohol consumption and mortality trends: the general economic situation, the availability and affordability of alcohol, and the changing patterns of alcohol consumption. Alcohol control measures seem to have had a positive impact on decreasing alcohol consumption and mortality insofar as they have reinforced the existing economic trends.


Conflict of interest statement

We have no conflict of interest to declare. Maria Neufeld has received funding via the DAAD (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst) and the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation from the budget of the Ministry of Education and Research in Germany.

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