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Russia Cracks Down on Smoking, Drinking

Published: October 23, 2013 (Issue # 1783)



  • With Russia as one of world leaders in alcohol consumption per capita, the new legislation aims to reduce alcoholism related health concerns.
    Photo: Vladimir Filonov / SPT

The St. Petersburg government has passed legislation banning the sale of alcohol between the hours of 10 p.m. and 11 a.m. The law passed its third and final reading on Wednesday, Oct.16.

The federal law that regulates the sale of alcohol was introduced in July 2012. At the time, the sale of alcohol was restricted between the hours of 11 p.m. and 8 a.m. Now, St. Petersburg Governor Georgy Poltavchenko has proposed legislation aimed at increasing the prohibition. 32 out of 50 deputies agreed with the governor’s measures.

The law was first proposed in May 2013. After a first successful reading, a second reading brought in some changes, shortening the hours when alcohol would be unavailable for sale from 11 p.m. to 9 a.m. During the bill’s third reading, however, a decision was made to maintain the initial timeframe and restrict the sale of alcohol between 10 p.m. until 11 a.m. After the final reading, the legislation was sent for the governor’s signature.

In addition to the restricted hours of sale, drinks containing alcohol will no longer be sold at street markets, railway stations, near schools and hospitals or in other places where crowds of people gather. Restaurants, bars and clubs are exempt from the new legislation, which also exempts the sale of beer from the new law.

Some deputies, however, do not believe the new restrictions will help in the fight against alcoholism. Moreover, some customers in local shops when told of the new rules expressed the opinion that “the ban on alcohol could make the situation even worse as it will lead to the illegal sale of alcohol.”

Internet forums are full of advice about where to get alcohol in case when the drinks run out but the party continues. Websites selling overpriced shot glasses available for delivery 24 hours a day offer alcohol as a bonus for the purchase. Officially, no laws are being broken since only the sale of alcohol is prohibited, while offering it as a gift is allowed. In addition, any organizations tasked with overseeing the alcohol industry do not take into account Internet shops.

Among other opinions expressed by deputies was the idea that it is the middle-class that suffers most of all from the restrictions – those who work the whole day and can only go to the shop once the working day is over.

“I don’t think that we will destroy alcoholism in this way,” said Maxim, a customer in a local supermarket speaking to The St. Petersburg Times. “It just causes more difficulties for ordinary people. If it turns out that I forgot to buy a bottle of wine beforehand, during the day, or just didn’t have the opportunity, I will not be able to buy something to drink when I go to visit my friends or relatives,”

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Friday, Jan. 30



The Lermontov Central Library, 19 Liteyny Prospekt, will screen 'Almost Famous’ in English with Russian subtitles at 6:30 p.m. Cameron Crowe's Academy Award-winning comedy from 2000 stars Billy Crudup, Kate Hudson, and Patrick Fugit, and tells the story of a budding music journalist at Rolling Stone magazine in the 1970s. Admission is free.



Meet renowned Russian poet, journalist and writer Dmitry Bykov, famous for his biographies of Boris Pasternak, Bulat Okudzhava and Maxim Gorky, and winner of 2006 National Bestseller Award. Bykov will read old and new poems as well as answer questions about his works at the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Main Hall, at 7 p.m. Tickets start at 1,000 rubles and are available at city ticket offices and the from the Philharmonic website www.philharmonia.spb.ru.



A retrospective of the films of Roman Polanski starts today at Loft-Project Etagi, 74 Ligovsky Prospekt, with a screening of ‘Repulsion’ at 7 p.m. and ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ at 9:15 p.m. The series runs through Feb. 4 and will include Polanski's eminently creepy ‘The Tenant,’ the cult comedy ‘The Fearless Vampire Killers’ and ‘Cul-de-sac’ among others. Tickets are 150-200 rubles and the complete schedule is available at www.vk.com/artpokaz/



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