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Prohibition, Russian-Style

Moscow is getting tough on drinkers: no vodka sales in shops in the capital between 10 pm and 10 am. Affluent drinkers need not fear, though. Spirits will still be avaliable at bars and restaurants. The ban, which will be implemented in September, comes just a few months after the Russian parlaiment passed a new zero tolerance law for drunk drivers. The Telegraph reports:

It comes as the Kremlin pushes ahead with the harshest anti-alcohol campaign since former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev’s draconian ban on vodka sales in 1985. Mr Gorbachev, who became a hate figure for many ordinary Russians as a result of the ban, decreed that vodka could only be sold from two in the afternoon to seven at night. His campaign prompted desperate drunks to rush to get their fix by imbibing perfume and other hazardous intoxicants instead. Many of them died as a result.

However, Yevgeny Brun, Russia’s top government expert in drug and alcohol abuse, welcomed the new restrictions.
“This decision can only be welcomed,” he told Russian news agency Interfax. “It is a very good measure that will make it possible to reduce the alcoholic strain on the population.” Russian officials estimate that 500,000 people die for alcohol-related reasons every year, while President Dmitry Medvedev has declared Russia’s drinking problem “a national disaster.”