Russia’s Vodka Export Slumps to 10-Year Low

March 31, 2016

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. record low / rəˈkɔːrd ˈloʊ / (idiom) – the lowest point something has ever reached
Example: The product’s sales fell to a record low because of the scandal involving its distributor.

2. plummet / ˈplʌm ɪt / (v.) – to experience a sudden fall or decline
Example: Prices in goods plummeted after the country entered recession.

3. impose / ɪmˈpoʊz / (v.) – to force a policy or law upon someone or something
Example: Many countries imposed trade restrictions against Russia as protest against its actions.

4. annex əˈnɛks / (v.) – to take a certain area or region under the control of a usually larger and more powerful state
Example: Russia annexed the neighboring city after its residents agreed to transfer control.

5. take its/a toll on (something) / ˈteɪk ˈɪts/ə toʊl ɑːn / (idiom) – to have a negative effect on something
Example: The country's international travel ban has taken a toll on its tourism industry.


Read the text below.
Russia’s vodka exports plunged into a 10-year record low last year because of ongoing international conflicts involving the country.

Statistics released by Russia’s Centre for the Study of Federal and Regional Alcohol Markets (CSFRAM) showed that export revenue from vodka and other liquors dropped by 40.2 percent in 2015.

Exports even from Britain, Russia’s largest vodka exporter, was 59% lower last year. In addition to that, a 70% decline in sales was seen in Ukraine, plummeting to £2.71 million in 2015, from £26.99 million in 2013.

Vadim Droby of the CSFRAM attributed the damages in Russian liquor sales to the Russia-Ukraine conflict, and the economic sanctions imposed by the United States and the European Union (EU) upon Russia for its actions against Ukraine.

The Russia-Ukraine conflict resulted from Russia’s seizure of Crimea, a long-disputed territory, from Ukraine. Russia effectively annexed the territory after organizing a poll, where 96.8% of Crimean voters agreed to be under Russia’s governance. Soon after the polls, Russia took secret military action upon Ukraine.

Russia’s actions were immediately met with criticism from the west, who claimed that Russia was disrespecting Ukraine’s authority as an independent state. In effect, they imposed economic sanctions upon Russia. Economic sanctions imposed restrictions on Russian banks and corporations. Russian banks are currently not allowed to make long-term loans in the EU, and exports from major Russian corporations are discouraged.

These economic sanctions had taken its toll on Russian vodka producers, whose funds are becoming insufficient for the distribution and promotion of their products in international markets, thus weakening vodka exportation.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Aside from economic implications, how else do you think Russia is affected by its conflict with Ukraine?
·         Do you agree with the United States' and the EU’s actions against Russia? Why or why not?

Discussion B

·         In your opinion, how can conflict between two countries be avoided?
·         If you were part of an international organization, what would you do to promote peace and harmony between countries?

March 31, 2016