Moscow set to curb drinking, have less liquor stores

May 6th, 2012 - 4:02 pm ICT by IANS  

Moscow, May 6 (IANS/RIA Novosti) In a country known for its hard drinking habits that President Dmitry Medvedev once termed a “national disaster”, there is a move now to curb it. In a first step, authorities in the Russian capital intend to drastically reduce the number of alcohol stores and impose stiff fines on drinking in public places.

A draft plan on the Moscow government’s website has revealed it.

The document, prepared by the city’s economic policy and urban development department, proposes cutting the number of these stores by 90 percent and gradually reducing the number of alcohol trade licences by 20 percent annually until 2015.

The strategy also envisages tripling penalties for drinking in public places, including consumption of beer and other low-alcohol beverages.

Seventy-six percent of Russians drink regularly. Alcohol kills 75,000 people a year directly, and many more die of related health problems. Statistics show Russians start drinking at an average age of 14.

In August 2009, President Medvedev called the drinking epidemic a “national disaster” and instructed the government to work out measures to fight alcohol abuse.

Per capita consumption of alcohol in Russia stands at 17 litres of pure ethanol a year, compared to the maximum of eight litres recommended by the World Health Organisation.

–IANS/RIA Novosti

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