Russia didnâ€™t consider beer to be alcohol until 2011. It was previously classified as a soft drink. The then Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has signed a bill that officially classifies beer as alcoholic.
Russian alcohol consumption is already twice the critical level set by the World Health Organization. The average Russian drinks the equivalent of 32 pints of pure alcohol per year and about 500,000 deaths annually are thought to be drink-related. That includes a large number of about 30,000 annual road accident deaths and of several thousand cases of drowning.
Source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/russia/9772801/Beer-to-become-alcohol-in-Russia-on-New-Years-Day.html, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-14232970