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Dry Law in Russian: Beer Equals Vodka - It's Alcohol
21.07.2011 14:20
Dry Law in Russian: Beer Equals Vodka - It's Alcohol

As of January 1, 2013 the new "dry law" will affect the part of the Russian population who loves a good pint of bitter or lager. On July 20, 2011 President Dmitry Medvedev ratified the federal law that equals beer to vodka and prohibits its consumption in the street. Most readers, Russian or not, would raise the eye-brows: for beer is, indeed, an alcoholic drink, and the alcohol percentage can be as high as 8 per cent in some brands. And yet until now in Russia it could be purchased and drunk in broad daylight by anyone over 18.


By 2013, only small shops and supermarkets will be able to sell beer, provided they have a licence. The current trend to sell beer in the street kiosks will have stopped completely. Alcohol purchases will be prohibited between 11pm and 8am. As for places to consume alcohol, beer included, these will be limited to one's own house, bars, and restaurants. This hardly changes the current state of things, when some alcoholic cocktails are sold at coffee houses. What will change, is the fine for drinking alcohol in the streets, parks, and forests. The analysts admit that currently there is no economic benefit to the police in fining those who consume vodka and beer in the street, due to an insignificant fine. Once the fine increases, so will the diligence of the police.


The analysts stress that this is not an attempt to strangle the development of small businesses in Russia. Rather, this is a decisive move to solve a notorious national problem of alcohol abuse. Whereas wine may be too expensive or posh, and vodka is too strong, beer is a popular choice for all the "obvious" reasons: price, alcohol percentage, and global appeal. The openness of Russia to the world means that habits are easily transmitted and acquired. And just like in the U.K., there is nothing better than to share a pint of beer with your pals on a Friday evening in a sport bar in Moscow or elsewhere in Russia.


What the law is trying to influence is, in effect, the bad business practices that abound in Russia. The street kiosks where beers stand side by side with soft drinks and sweets abound, and the owner's profit most likely comes from alcohol purchases. Russian online business forums and websites offer advice on how to open "a beer stall" If the business only exists because it sells alcohol that negatively affects the health of Russian people, it is not a good business to support, the Duma members say.


Source: TV Rain. Image courtesy: Infokam.

Author: Julia Shuvalova

Tags: Russian business Russian economy Russian law   

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