Dry Law

Presidium of the Supreme Soviet, Decree. May 16, 1985

The lack of foresight was nowhere more apparent than in the ill-conceived anti-alcohol campaign, launched by a Central Committee resolution on 7 May 1985. While alcohol abuse was a major drain on the Soviet economy and society, the authoritarian approach only increased the production of bootleg liquor and drove people to drink dangerous substitutes for vodka. Above all, an already unbalanced budget was deprived of one of its main sources of revenue. The decree was used to continue the crusade against private trade, described as ‘speculation’.

Original Source: Spravochnik partiinogo rabotnika, vypusk 26 (Moscow: Partizdat, 1986), pp. 617-623.

  • The drinking of spirits during production (in the place of work, in buildings and on the premises of enterprises, institutions and organisations) or being drunk at work is liable to an administrative penalty, in the form of a fine to the sum of 30 to 50 roubles …
  • The purchase and resale for the sake of gain of small amounts of vodka and other liquors, as well as mass consumption goods and agricultural products, till and sale receipts and bills, entertainment and other tickets, books, music notes, records, audio and video cassettes and other valuables, if the scale of profit does not exceed 30 roubles, is liable to an administrative penalty in the form of a fine of 50-100 roubles with the confiscation of the items being speculated.

Source: Richard Sakwa, ed., The Rise and Fall of the Soviet Union, 1917-1991 (London: Routledge, 1999), p. 424.

Comments are closed.