The harmful effects of alcohol consumption are not necessarily limited to the amounts consumed. Drinking in binges is a specific feature of Russian alcohol consumption that may be of importance even for explaining the current mortality crisis. Based on interviews conducted with a stratified random sample of 1190 Muscovites in 2004, this paper examines binge drinking in relation to the respondents’ economic situation and social relations. Consistent with prior research, this study provides further evidence for a negative relationship between educational level and binge drinking. Our results also indicate a strong but complex link between economic strain and binge drinking. The odds ratios for binge drinking of men experiencing manifold economic problems were almost twice as high compared to those for men with few economic problems. However, the opposite seemed to be true for women. Being married or cohabiting seemed to have a strong protective effect on binge drinking among women compared to being single, while it seemed to have no effect at all among men. Women having regular contact with friends also had more than twice the odds for binge drinking compared to those with little contact with friends, while again no effect was found among men. Gender roles and the behavioural differences membedded in these, may explain the difference. The different effects of economic hardship on binge drinking may also constitute an important factor when explaining the large mortality difference between men and women in Russia.