Drinking in the Commonwealth of Independent States - Evidence from eight countries

Joceline Pomerleau, Martin McKee, Richard Rose, Christian W. Haerpfer, David Rotman, Sergej Tumanov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Citations (Scopus)


Aims: To describe the frequency of alcohol consumption and beverage preferences in eight countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). Design: Cross-sectional. Setting: Populations of Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Republic of Moldova, Russian Federation and Ukraine. Participants: Representative samples of the adult population of each country (overall sample size 18,428; response rates: 71-88%). Measurements: A standardised questionnaire was administered by trained interviewers to examine alcohol consumption frequency and usual intakes of beer, wine and strong spirits. Findings: Between 11 and 34% of males and 26-71% of females reported never drinking alcohol. Abstention was lowest in the Russian Federation and Belarus, two traditional spirits-drinking countries. It was particularly high in Kyrgyzstan and Georgia, two countries with a relatively low frequency of alcohol consumption but large amounts consumed per occasion (particularly Georgia). On the contrary, Moldovan respondents drank frequently, but consumed smaller amounts per occasion. As expected, spirits were consumed in largest amounts in traditional spirits-drinking countries, as well as Armenia and wine in traditional wine-drinking countries. Beer consumption was relatively high in Russia, Belarus, Ukraine and Kazakhstan (males), particularly in young respondents. Conclusions: Although cross-country comparisons of alcohol intake should be interpreted cautiously, this study suggested that drinking patterns in the countries examined are not entirely typical of usual dry/wet drinking cultures, and confirms that the CIS is very diverse in terms of drinking patterns and beverage preferences. The study provides an important baseline for future comparisons as markets open to new products, as has been the case elsewhere in Europe.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1647-1668
Number of pages22
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Alcohol
  • Drinking pattern
  • Former Soviet Union
  • Survey

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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