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Thursday, May 24, 2007

Russia Prepares to Ban Drinking Beer in Public Places

Drinking in public parks, on the streets and other locations is a pretty common site in most Russian cities. That could change under a new law.

The Russian State Duma, the lower House of Parliament, voted in Stalin-era style on Wednesday in favor of the ban by a count of 377-0. The new law would ban the open air consumption of beer in public areas. Comsumption of liquor in public places is already banned, but it is not uncommon to see vodka being drank in some parks.

The bill still faces further approvals before it becomes law. The Russian government is attacking drinking and smoking as part of a public health campaign. The law would restrict the consumption of beer in open air settings to bars and restaurants that have service licenses.

The fine if you are caught consuming beer in public would be 300 rubles -- $11.58, not all that much more than you have to pay for a warm light beer in some Major League Baseball stadiums. The only thing missing would be an overpriced hotdog.

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