“…measures to reduce alcohol production and sales. These included limiting the kinds of shops permitted to sell alcohol, closing many vodka distilleries and destroying vineyards in the wine-producing republics of Moldavia, Armenia and Georgia, and banning the sale of alcohol in restaurants before two o’clock in the afternoon. To set a good example, official Soviet receptions both at home and abroad became alcohol-free. Exhorting Soviet citizens to abide by these measures, Gorbachev became known as the mineral’nyi sekretar’ (mineral-water-drinking secretary) rather than general’nyi sekretar’ (General Secretary).
With these new laws led to the explosive rise of alcohol in the blackmarket. Moonshine became a very popular throughout the Soviet Union, the soviet government claimed that sales went down drastically, but what is not accounted for is the rise in moonshining. Not only did people openly disobey the laws, but the confidence in the government declined. With the government enforcement led to the rise in organized crime;
“However, the presence of illegal markets was even more essential to the existence of a mafia in the USSR. Everyone is aware that illegal markets such as alcohol during the prohibition period or drugs today elicit organized crime, yet this association was unique in the USSR. In the USSR, every form of economic transaction that did not involve the government concerned an illegal market. This created a situation ripe for criminals in the Soviet Union. ”
His efforts were ultimately unsuccessful – the illicit production of moonshine, known as “samogon,” rocketed, accompanied by a sudden rise in sales of medicinal and industrial spirits. The never-popular policy was later quietly dropped.
Not only did Gorbachev when he initiated this anti-Alcohol campaign stopped the flow of alcohol, but also the revenue of several billion rubles. “…it was a serious blow to the state budget (a loss of approximately 100 billion rubles to the exchequer according to Alexander Yakovlev) after alcohol production migrated to the black market economy.