Russia to enact new curbs on alcohol
Russian President Dmitry Medvedvev ordered tough new restrictions Friday to try to curb alcoholism, which he has described as a "national disaster."
Medvedev directed Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to enact bans on liquor advertising and to allow local authorities to prohibit the sale of alcohol in specific locations and at specific times of the day.
The planned new restrictions would also bar the sale of beer in cans or bottles larger than one-third of a litre. That would apply to "light alcohol" beverages, but not to wine, vodka or other hard liquors.
Jail time would replace fines for those who sell spirits and beer to people younger than 18, the legal drinking age in Russia.
Medvedev gave officials three months to enact the new rules.
Russia has one of the world's highest per-capita rates of alcohol consumption, which is linked to the country's reduced life expectancy rates. A study published in The Lancet medical journal in June found that drinking has caused more than half of deaths among Russians aged 15 to 54 since the 1991 Soviet collapse.
September 11, 2009
CBC news with files from the Associated Press