Bureaucratic bungling means Russia is facing its most serious alcohol shortage in 20 years. Whisky, gin, tequila and foreign wines are all disappearing from the supermarket shelves. Fed-up Russians fear the their national drink of vodka could vanish next. The problems arose after the authorities took measures to stamp out fraudulently-labelled bootleg alcohol. All imported alcohol bottles had to have a new bar-coded excise label so they could be tracked in an electronic database. But most retailers had not been issued with the new excise label by the July 1 deadline, now known as "Black Saturday". It may be three months before the mess can be sorted out and by then supplies of vodka could also be running short. The Independent on Sunday 09/07/06 page 39