MOSCOW, December 1. /TASS/. The Russian Investigative Committee suggests equating sales of fake alcohol with murder amid reports about dozens of people dying or being poisoned.
"We believe responsibility should be comparable with an intentional killing," its spokesman Vladimir Markin said on Tuesday, noting that at the moment responsibility was comparable rather to that for death inflicted through negligence.
"Thus the death of one person envisages the punishment of up to six years in prison, and up to ten years if two or more people die," he continued. "In our opinion, the person producing lethal alcoholic drinks is well aware of the social danger of his activity and possible consequences," Markin said.
"We must bear it in mind that alcohol consumption in Russia has mass proportions," he continued.
"By the present moment, methanol poisoning as a result of consumption of fake alcohol has been fixed already in six regions of the Russian Federation," Markin said, mentioning the Krasnoyarsk region, the republic of Chuvashia, as well as the Orenburg, Kursk, Moscow and Kaluga regions.
Dozens of people have died or have been poisoned, he said. "One cannot be certain that the list of regions registering new victims of deadly ‘booze’ will not grow," he added. Twelve people have recently died after drinking fake alcohol alone in the Far Eastern Krasnoyarsk region.
Fifteen people died in poisoning from fake alcohol in Russian regions between November 9 and 23, the state Investigative Committee’s spokesman said on November 23.
Vladimir Markin said 10 others had been taken to hospital with poisoning. Most victims bought the drink online, he added.
Russia's Interior Ministry said fake alcohol sales were traditionally growing in all Russian regions ahead of New Year holidays.
Russia’s most drinking regions are the Far East's Kamchatka, Magadan and Jewish autonomous region, and the Nenets autonomous region in western Siberia, said a survey conducted by the country’s Civic Chamber and based on criteria including alcohol sales, death rates from alcohol poisoning and drunk driving.