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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, Oct. 24


SPIBA’s ongoing “Breakfast with the Director” series continues today, featuring Tomas Hajek, Managing Director of the Northwest Division at Danone Russia. Hajek will be discussing collaborations between businesses from different cultures. The meeting is at 9 a.m. at the Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel and all who wish to attend must confirm their participation by Oct. 23.


Get your gong on at “Sounds of the Universe,” a concert at the city planetarium this evening incorporating six different gongs to create relaxing songs that will transport you upwards into the stratosphere. Tickets are 700 rubles ($17).



Saturday, Oct. 25


AVA Expo, the eighth edition of the event revolving around all things pop culture, returns to Lenexpo this weekend. Geeks, nerds, dweebs and dorks will have their chance to talk science fiction and explore a variety of international pop culture. Tickets for the event can be purchased on their website at avaexpo.ru.



Sunday, Oct. 26


Zenit St. Petersburg returns home for the first time in nearly a month as they host Mordovia Saransk in a Russian Premier League game. Currently at the top of the league thanks to their undefeated start to the season, the northern club hopes to extend the gap between them and second-place CSKA Moscow and win the title for the first time in three years. Tickets are available at the stadium box office or on the club’s website.



Monday, Oct. 27


Today marks the end of the art exhibit “Neophobia” at the Erarta Museum. Artists Alexey Semichov and Andrei Kuzmin took a neo-modernist approach to represent the array of fears that are ever-present throughout our lives. Tickets are 200 rubles ($4.90).



Tuesday, Oct. 28


The Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel plays host to SPIBA’s Marketing and Communications Committee’s round table discussion on “Government Relations Practices in Russia” this morning. The discussion starts at 9:30 a.m. and participation must be confirmed by Oct. 24.



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