Russia to Return Back to Gorbachev's Dry Law?

The Moscow government considers an opportunity to ban the sales of alcohol beverages, including beer, at night time. It has already been decided to ban the sales of beverages stronger than 15% already from September 1 (from 10:00 p.m. will 10:00 a.m. of the next day).

Those who follow the "Down with drinking!" motto are the minority. The consumption of alcohol beverages has become a cultural norm all over the globe. One should struggle for the observation of cultural norms, but it is much simpler for officials to simply ban it.

Will Muscovites have to join the Prozac nation and take antidepressants as stress relievers? That would not be a very good option . Many people in Russia still remember the time of Gorbachev's perestroika, when they had to have special coupons to buy vodka, but they could buy it only when there was such a possibility, not when they wanted to. The general consumption of vodka decreased in the country, but such a measure resulted in the growth of incidents of severe alcohol poisonings, because people were forced to buy surrogate drinks instead.

Now history may repeat itself.

It is worthy of note that night-time sales of strong alcoholic beverages were banned in Moscow in 2006. Only six percent of stores selling alcohol drinks have special permissions for nighttime commerce.

In July of this year, Levada Public Opinion Research Center conducted a poll among 1,600 Russians in 130 settlements situated in 45 regions of the country. The respondents were asked the following question: "Do you drink alcoholic beverages (including beer)? If yes, then how often?"

The answer "several times a week" received positive response from 6 percent of the polled. "Once a week" - 9 percent. 28 percent said that they "don't drink at all." 26 percent said - "once a month".

It does not look like a catastrophe, is it? There are always people who poison themselves with alcohol deliberately. There are also people, who drink just for fun and entertainment. Alcoholics shall not be considered as someone who just like alcoholic beverages. They drink to receive intoxication, they want to change their consciousness. There ' s no vodka ? There are surrogates . In the long run, they used to drink the legendary Troinoi Cologne during the Soviet times.

There were two politicians in Russia and the USSR, who became known for their initiative to introduce the dry law: Mikhail Gorbachev and Tsar Nicholas II. Their stay at power led to catastrophic consequences for the country. It was not because of the dry law, of course. A politician, who does not understand his country, can not take it to anything good.

The government does need to take measures, because people drink a lot indeed. However, a ban is not a way out, it's not a solution. It is a surrogate measure.

Andrei Bortsov

Read the original in Russian

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Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov