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Russia May Toughen Punishment for Illegal Production and Sale of Alcohol

Posted in Alcohol Abuse

As part of Russia’s crusade against alcohol abuse, the lower chamber of parliament on Wednesday adopted in its first reading a bill introducing harsher punishments for the illegal production and sale of alcohol.

The Russian government has declared an anti-alcohol campaign and aims to halve consumption by 2020 and root out illegal production and sales.

Under the bill, those found guilty of producing alcohol not registered with Russia’s Unified State Automated Information System (EGAIS), will face a fine of up to 200,000 rubles ($6,735) or a prison term of up to three years and a fine of up to 80,000 rubles ($2,700).

If the production was carried out by an organized group or in especially large quantities, it will entail a fine from 100,000 to 300,000 rubles ($3,370-$10,000). It can also be punished with a prison term from two to six years and a possible fine of up to a million rubles ($33,700).

Official statistics in Russia show more than 23,000 people die of alcohol poisoning annually. In an effort to fight counterfeit alcohol production, Russia introduced on January 1 a minimum price for vodka.

Alcohol consumption in Russia per capita is currently about 18 liters a year, twice the critical norm set by WHO.