Russia fails to ban drinking in public despite soaring alcoholism
- By: Andrew Osborn
An unprecedented drive to curb the post-Soviet boom in drinking on Russia's streets--a move designed to stamp out soaring levels of child alcoholism--has been unexpectedly derailed.
Beer is regarded as a soft drink by many Russians, and the country's brewers have enjoyed huge success since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, with beer supplanting vodka as the tipple of choice among many young Russians.
Priced at little more than 40p ($0.74; a0.57) a bottle and regarded as little more than a potent form of lemonade, it is not uncommon to see children as young as 11 drinking beer after school with their friends and to see commuters swigging bottles of beer on Moscow's underground in the mornings. In practice, there is no age limit.
The Russian parliament, however, which is increasingly keen to sweep away many of the excesses which have crept into Russian society in the past