Vodka and violence: alcohol consumption and homicide rates in Russia

Am J Public Health. 2002 Dec;92(12):1921-30. doi: 10.2105/ajph.92.12.1921.


In Russia, rates of alcohol consumption and homicide are among the highest in the world, and already-high levels increased dramatically after the breakup of the Soviet Union. Rates of both, however, vary greatly among Russia's 89 regions. We took advantage of newly available vital statistics and socioeconomic data to examine the regional covariation of drinking and lethal violence. Log-log models were employed to estimate the impact of alcohol consumption on regional homicide rates, controlling for structural factors thought to influence the spatial distribution of homicide rates. Results revealed a positive and significant relationship between alcohol consumption and homicide, with a 1% increase in regional consumption of alcohol associated with an approximately 0.25% increase in homicide rates. In Russia, higher regional rates of alcohol consumption are associated with higher rates of homicide.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Alcohol Drinking / adverse effects*
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology*
  • Alcoholism / complications
  • Alcoholism / epidemiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Homicide / psychology
  • Homicide / statistics & numerical data*
  • Homicide / trends
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Risk Factors
  • Russia / epidemiology
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Violence / psychology
  • Violence / statistics & numerical data*
  • Violence / trends