GORKI, August 13 (Itar-Tass) —— Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev suggested revoking the licenses of stores that sell alcohol to minors.
“It is necessary to introduce separate liability – for the seller it should be all the way to criminal liability for selling alcohol to children, and for the proprietor, if it is hard to prove that alcohol is sold to minors on his orders, should also face liability, mainly a revocation of the license for trade in alcohol,” Medvedev said at a videoconference, replying to a question from a participant in a youth forum in the Kaliningrad region on Monday, August 13.
Last week, the government considered a set of amendments that restrict alcohol trade. “A draft law was prepared and submitted to the State Duma, and I hope that it will be applied broadly,” he said.
The State Duma debated and approved a draft law that bans alcohol advertisements on the Internet and increases penalties for selling alcohol to minors.
“We will consider two daft laws this week, both aim to fight alcoholism, primarily among children,” the head of the United Russia faction in the lower house of parliament, Andrei Vorobyov, said. “The first one bans alcohol advertisements on the Internet, and the other one introduces amendments [to the Code of Administrative Offences] that increase penalties for selling alcohol to minors,” he said.
“This is our principled political position and we are going to push it through,” Vorobyov said.
Under current legislation, the fines are 3,000-5,000 roubles for individuals, 10,000-20,000 for officials, and 80,000-100,000 roubles for legal entities.
The proposed draft law proposed harsher penalties for drawing minors into regular alcohol consumption and sets the lightest possible penalty for that at 2-6 years in prison.
Medvedev also believes it necessary to increase fines for production, purchase, storage and transportation for sale or sale of unmarked alcoholic beverages.
Fines will increase from 200,000 to 500,000 roubles, and to 800,000 roubles for organised groups. Administrative fines will also grow, including fines for violation of the rules of selling and drinking alcoholic beverages, for appearance of minors in public places in a state of alcoholic intoxication, and for other offences.
According to the Ministry of Health and Social Development, there are more than 28 million alcoholics in Russia. Of 10 million children at the age of 11-18, more than 50 percent use alcohol and beer regularly. Two of three Russian children at the age of 13-16 drink alcohol. The minsitry says that Russians begin to drink beer on a regular basis from the age of 12, wine from the age of 15 and vodka from the age of 16.
The latest public opinion polls indicate that alcoholic cocktails are the most often purchased drink among teenagers from the age of 13 to the age of 17.The average age of people who drink heavily, mainly beer, has declined from 14 to 11 over the past ten years.
The level of alcohol abuse in Russia is among the highest in the world. Russia holds the lead in terms of alcohol consumption with 18 litres per person a year.