in prerevolutionary Russia, a state monopoly over the production and commerce in alcoholic beverages. The liquor monopoly existed along with liquor leasing in the course of the 17th century and the first half of the 18th. The liquor monopoly was confirmed once and for all in the late 19th century; on the initiative of S. lu. Witte it was introduced at first into four provinces (Perm, Orenburg, Ufa, and Samara), and in the following years it was extended over the entire country.
The establishment of the liquor monopoly was dictated by the interests of the state treasury and the pomeshchik (landholder) distillers. With its introduction, the revenues of innkeepers and tax farmers were transferred to the government. In 1913 the value of all vodka consumed was 200 mil-lion rubles, but the population paid the state 900 million rubles for it. In tsarist Russia, the liquor monopoly was one of the levers “of that organized robbery, that systematic, unconscionable plunder of national property by a handful of pomeshchiki, bureaucrats, and all sorts of parasites, plunder which is called the ’state economy’ of Russia” (V. I. Lenin, Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 15, p. 163).