Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding
News, August 30, 2009
Fighting Alcoholism in Russia Absolutely Impossible, Says Medvedev
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev discussed the problem of alcohol consumption in Russia in his residence “Bocharov Ruchei” in Sochi. The president urged the government to take measures to reduce the consumption of alcohol in Russia.
“Alcoholism has become a national disaster,” Dmitry Medvedev claimed. According to official data, average Russians, including newborns, consume about 18 liters of alcohol a year.
According to the World Health Organization, if alcohol consumption per capita exceeds 8 liters a year in Russia, the health of nation will find itself in serious danger.
Besides, mass alcohol consumption in Russia results in many families getting separated. Drunken drivers account for almost 5,000 road accidents killing about 8,000 people.
By the president’s opinion, the previously taken measures had given no effect.
“Probably, on the one hand the whole range of restrictive, awareness-raising measures is needed to promote normal and healthy lifestyle,” Medvedev declared.
“It is impossible to fight alcoholism in a poor country,” the president added, stressing the necessity to raise living standards in the country.
“No matter how one views the 1985-1990 anti-alcohol campaign and the mistakes that were made, the campaign did lead to a serious drop in death rates, especially among men, and it saved the lives of one million people over five years,” Health Minister Tatyana Golikova claimed.
According to the data quoted by the minister, only 40 percent of this year's Russian school leavers are likely to live to the pension age of 55-60.
The authorities are not going to repeat the mistakes made in the past. They will not introduce dry law but pay more attention to preventive measures.
By the president’s opinion, it is necessary to strengthen responsibility for those selling alcohol to minors. Medvedev also suggested changing the regulation of sales of the so-called low-alcohol drinks so as to make them subject to general principles of regulation and restrictions as to strong drinks.
This implies a ban on the sale of alcohol near schools, recreational centers and sport facilities.
Tatyana Golikova suggested inviting the church to join the anti-alcohol company. It has always been an influential institution.
By the way, some governors intend to show the nation how to struggle with alcoholism. For instance, the governor of the Kaliningrad region Georgy Boos told reporters that within the next few days he will impose a ban on the sale of alcohol in his administration office.
Besides, alcohol will not be offered to officials during any ceremonial events. An exception will be made only for international events.
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