In accordance with a law that went into effect in the new year, it is forbidden to sell beer at the kiosks that proliferated in the streets and Russian roads after the fall of the Soviet Union. Although these small makeshift shops lost their importance with the emergence of more conventional establishments, new laws could end up completely with a symbol of the vibrant and messy post-Communist free market.
The law was devised to try to combat the high level of alcoholism in Russia. Beer may only be purchased in restaurants, cafes and shops of at least 50 square meters (500 square feet). The law also changes the classification of food beer alcoholic beverage, which means that you can not be sold in any shop from 11 p.m. to 8 a.m. Also combat informal alcohol consumption, banning in public spaces.
Before the rise of supermarkets and stores of food in residential neighborhoods, the prohibition of the sale of beer at the kiosk probably will mean walking few streets more for someone who dies by drinking it. On the other hand, it will affect the income of operators of the kiosks.
Experts estimate that beer adds nearly 40% of revenues for the kiosks, according to Interfax news agency.
“Apparently all that volume will be absorbed by the shops. I think that more than one third of small farms in Russia will end up closing inevitably,”said Vadim Drobiz, director of the Research Center for markets federal and regional Alcohol, according to the news.mail.ru internet site quoted it.
Everything indicates that there will be more problems for the operators of the kiosks. The lower House of Parliament gave preliminary approval to an initiative that would prohibit the sale of cigarettes in the kiosks and small premises.
If prohibitions for cigarettes come in effect, coupled with the bans on beer, nearly 175,000 kiosks in the country might be forced to close, ending with 500,000 jobs, according to estimates by the Ministry of economic development, cited by Interfax.
Excessive consumption of alcohol and tobacco are two of the main factors in the high level of mortality of Russia. For boys born in 2006 average life expectancy was 60 to 61 years according to a report from the programme of the United Nations Development Organization.
Russia has banned smoking in most enclosed public spaces, and the Government has increased the minimum prices for vodka.
In the new year, the cheapest price for half a liter of vodka increased 36% to 170 rubles ($5.50).
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