Vladimir Putin marked Russia’s Victory Day this morning with a speech in Moscow’s Red Square telling soldiers “the security of the country rests on you today”. But, as detailed in Politico Magazine, one of the building blocks of Putin’s financial and political might may also be a threat to the lives of those soldiers: vodka. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, an unregulated alcohol market and economic depression led to a stomach-churning increase in consumption of Russia’s drink of choice. The average Russian drinker was consuming 180 bottles of vodka per year. Consequently, Russian life expectancy dipped to 58. Although pointedly sober himself in comparison with his often-inebriated predecessor, Boris Yeltsin, when Putin came to power in 2000 he saw the ruble signs. Over the last two decades his personal stake in state-controlled vodka production has reportedly provided a significant proportion of his total wealth at a cost in Russian lives. The irony: as the war shows no signs of abating Meduza says Putin is worried about “certain members” of his inner circle seeking the bottom of the bottle.