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MOSCOW, May 31 (Itar-Tass) — Russia's State Duma, the lower house of parliament, is ready to increase the official drinking age from the current 18 years to 21 years, first deputy chairman of the United Russia faction, Vyacheslav Timchenko said Thursday.
He said he is ready to initiate an appropriate bill.
In connection with the International Children's Day, a number of members of the United Russia faction have submitted admendments to the Code of Administrative Violations that envision a considerable tightening of sanctiosn for the sales of alcoholic drinks to underage children.
Fines for individuals may go up 30,000 to 50,000 rubles from the current 3,000 rubles to 5,000 rubles. For officials and business executives, they may go up to 100,000 to 200,000 rubles and for organizations and corporations, to 300,000 to 500,000 rubles, Timchenko said.
"I think we must make the next step, too, and to raise the legal drinking age to 21 years from the 18 we have today," he said.
"This is a really rare case when prohibitions will certainly do good," Timchenko said adding that the 21 years qualification age requirement for the people buying alcoholic beverages has long been made a norm in many countries. "And look, this doesn't hamper the freedoms of an individual in any way."
"Our Constitution, too, admits of an imposition of restrictions on personal freedoms if this is necessary for the defense of morality, health, rights, and legal interests of the people," he said.
"Some experts have doubts as to whether or not a law of this kind will be fulfilled if the Duma passes it but I don't claim trat everything will happen in a matter-of-course manner," Timchenko said. "We need a political will of the state and everything will work out the right way then.""In the final run, there's something to fight for," he said.