Moscow, Jan 2 : Dizzy probably from overnight drinking binge, many Russians woke up on the first day of the new year only to find a harsh reality -- they can no longer pick a bottle of beer when stopping by street stands late at night as they usually do.
Under a law taking effect from Jan. 1, beer is reclassified as an alcoholic beverage, meaning it is not available in nighttime sale from 11:00 p. m. to 8:00 a. m. Before, beer with less than five degrees of alcohol was permitted for sale at the street stands.
Established at a federal level, the law applies not only to Moscow, but to the whole overdrinking-tainted country. A 2011 WHO study said 20 percent of deaths among Russian men and 6 percent of deaths among women are attributable to alcohol abuse.
In addition, any alcoholic drinks, including beer, can''t be sold near children''s educational institutions, sport facilities and in public transport as of Jan. 1, ITAR-TASS reported. But alcoholic sales at shops located in residential houses were not restricted yet.
Moscow trade and services department statistics showed that of some 10,000 street stands in the capital, half sell food products and the other half sell beers. These street stands are entitled to sell cola and mineral water in line with the law.
All shops and bars would have to apply for licenses to sell beer due to the reclassification. Some 200 alcohol trade licenses were revoked in Moscow in 2012 over violating alcohol trade rules. (ANI)