Category Archives: Health, Alcohol, Smoking, AIDS, Epidemics

NEWSWATCH: Pentagon 2008 study claims Putin has Asperger’s syndrome

Vladimir Putin

[“Pentagon 2008 study claims Putin has Asperger’s syndrome” – USA Today – Ray Locker – February 4, 2015] USA Today reports on a U.S. Department of Defense study from 2008, obtained through a Freedom of Information request, theorizing that Russian President Vladimir Putin is autistic, having the neurological condition Asperger’s Syndrome. A study from a Pentagon think tank theorizes … Putin has Asperger’s […]

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New Russian Regulation Says Transgender People Unfit to Drive

Moscow Traffic file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – January 9, 2015) Transgender people may no longer be allowed to drive cars in Russia under new road safety regulations signed by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. A decree published on the government website earlier this month lists an array of health conditions that can disqualify someone from getting behind the wheel, among […]

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Lifting the lid on Russia’s bad habits

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Maria Fyodorishina, special to RBTH – January 8, 2015) Psychologists and sociologists have identified several bad habits typical of Russians: smoking, swearing, drinking a lot of tea, and even the habit of passing the blame. What do the statistics say and what are the explanations behind these common indulgences? The most widespread bad […]

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Best of 2014: People of the year

New Year's Eve on Red Square with Fireworks, Kremlin, Saint Basil's, Crowds

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Oleg Yegorov, special to RBTH – December 22, 2014) The year 2014 was complicated, with groundbreaking events aplenty on the political scene, as well as in technology, media and numerous cultural spheres. RBTH presents the Russians who in its view played the most noteworthy roles in politics, science, and culture this year. 1. […]

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Alcohol Kills 500,000 Russians Annually

Shelf of Alcoholic Beverages with Red and White Tape Across It

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – December 2, 2014) Around 500,000 Russians die due to alcohol abuse every year, Russia’s health and safety watchdog said in a statement Monday. More teenagers and women of childbearing age have started consuming alcohol, which lowers life expectancy and contributes to the number of untimely deaths in the country, the statement said. The government has […]

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Moscow Medical Staff Keep Pressure on Authorities With Massive Street Protest

File Photo of Patient in Russian Hospital

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Allison Quinn – December 1, 2014) More than a thousand health care workers took to the capital’s streets Sunday to keep the pressure on authorities amid ongoing medical reforms that critics say are being conducted for financial gain over anything else. The reforms, which were initiated by President Vladimir Putin upon his return to the […]

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RIA Novosti: Top Russian psychiatrist links increased drunk driving to economic strain

Shelf of Alcoholic Beverages with Red and White Tape Across It

(RIA Novosti – Moscow, November 24, 2014) The Russian Health Ministry’s chief freelance psychiatrist [Zurab Kekelidze] has declared that the number of road traffic accidents involving drunk drivers has risen by 10 per cent in Russia this year, possibly due to psychological strain owing to changes to the international and economic situation. “In the first seven months of 2013 the […]

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Russia Beyond the Headlines: U.S.-Russia continue medical cooperation

File Photo of Patient in Russian Hospital

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Victoria Zavyalova, special to RBTH – November 5, 2014) Joint programs in regional hospitals are less sensitive to geopolitical disagreements. The desire and energy of Russian and U.S. scientists are what fuel cooperation between Russia and the United States in the field of medicine, which takes place mainly on a non-governmental level. Research […]

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Health Minister Reaches Out to Medical Workers After Massive Protest

Kremlin and Saint Basil's

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Allison Quinn – November 5, 2014) Russia’s health minister has promised to consider the demands of Moscow health workers amid ongoing reforms of the capital’s health care system on Monday in the direct aftermath of a thousands-strong street protest, the TASS news agency reported. “The opinions of patients and doctors hold the utmost significance for […]

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The spread of Ebola: Fears and reality

Ebola Virus, adapted from image at nih.gov with credit NAID

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Mikhail Shchelkanov, special to RBTH – October 28, 2014) Mikhail Shchelkanov is the head of the laboratory of Virus Ecology at the Ivanovsky Institute of Virology of the Russian Minstry of Health. This summer, he helped fight Ebola in Guinea. What is the likelihood that these factors could come into play in Europe […]

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Interfax: West Africa Ebola sooner or later to be contained, virus not to reach Russia – Virology Research Institute

Ebola Virus, adapted from image at nih.gov with credit NAID

MOSCOW. Oct 17 (Interfax) – Experts from the Ivanovsky Virology Research Institute of the Russian Health Ministry believe the situation with Ebola in the world is unlikely to reach a level when Russia will have to restrict border entry. “I believe the situation will develop according to a favorable scenario and the outbreak can be contained,” Viktor Larichev, a researcher […]

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Chances of Ebola epidemic reaching Russia are slim, say researchers

Ebola Virus, adapted from image at nih.gov with credit NAID

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Gleb Fedorov, RBTH – October 13, 2014)  Russia has an effective antibacterial system that helps avoid uncontrollable outbreaks of viruses similar to Ebola, says one of the country’s leading epidemiologists. Research by a Boston university also indicates that the chances of the Ebola virus spreading to Russia are currently minimal. According to a study published […]

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RIA Novosti: Ebola in Russia Possible, But Serious Outbreak Unlikely: Public Health Watchdog

Ebola Virus, adapted from image at nih.gov with credit NAID

MOSCOW, October 9 (RIA Novosti) – A serious outbreak of Ebola virus is unlikely in Russia, although sporadic infections among Russians who traveled abroad are possible, the head of Russia’s public health watchdog Rospotrebnadzor said Thursday. “No hysterical reports have ever been made for the Russian Federation, and will never be made, because the situation is under control and all […]

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Poll: Most Russians Would Sacrifice Booze and Cigarettes to Hurt West

Cigarette Being Lit

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – September 4, 2014) More than 70 percent of Russians would ban imports of booze and cigarettes from Western countries in retaliation for sanctions, but few would give up foreign cars or pay an additional tax on vacations abroad, a recent poll indicated. Other popular measures included blacklisting foreign hotels (supported by 77 percent) and banning […]

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Majority of Russia’s Urban Population Is Breathing Highly Polluted Air

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – September 4, 2014) The majority of Russia’s urban population is breathing highly polluted air, including at least 14 million people in 38 cities where pollutant concentrations are 10 times above acceptable levels, according to a recent report by the national weather and environment service. Moscow was among cities that rated high on air pollution, mostly […]

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Russian NGOs Working to Fight AIDS Not ‘Foreign Agents’

HIV Infection Microscopic Photo of Cells

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Allison Quinn – August 15, 2014) Non-governmental organizations working to fight HIV/AIDS in Russia will not be required to register as foreign agents if they receive funding from abroad, Kommersant reported Friday, citing the results of recent inspections by the Justice Ministry. The inspections, which began in June at the government’s request, covered dozens of […]

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Drugs Agency Proposes Giving Range of Social Benefits to Recovering Addicts

Russian Drug Den File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anna Dolgov – August 1, 2014) Russia’s drug control agency has proposed providing free housing, food subsidies and home attendants to recovering addicts to help them in their rehabilitation, in a bill that has drawn sharp criticism from opponents who argue it would encourage drug use, a news report said. The bill of amendments to […]

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Cold turkey in Russia; In Yekaterinburg, Yevgeny Roizman’s City Without Drugs Foundation has been engaged in some very questionable practices. But why has there been so little discussion?

Russian Drug Den File Photo

(opendemocracy.net – Elena Vlasenko – June 30, 2014) Elena Vlasenko is a Russian journalist Russia has no treatment programme for drug addicts; cold turkey is the only way they can kick the habit, either in prison or in rehab centres like Yevgeny Roizman’s City Without Drugs Foundation. But the foundation has been engaged in some very questionable practices. On 30 […]

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No Rehab for Russia’s Drug Addicts

Russian Drug Den File Photo

(The Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Allison Quinn – June 26, 2014) As the world marks the United Nations’ International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking on Thursday, millions of drug addicts in Russia have nowhere to go for treatment, and specialists are in despair over the lack of progress in the country’s rehabilitation system. The Federal Drug Control […]

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Nicotine nation: The story of Russia’s addiction to the cigarette

Cigarette Being Lit

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Georgy Manaev, RBTH) On June 1, 2014, Russian lawmakers banned smoking in trains, hotels, cafes, and playgrounds. For a country where tobacco has been popular for more than 400 years, this is not the first action taken to restrict smoking. RBTH takes a trip back in time to uncover the history of smoking […]

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Smoking in Russia: kicking the habit

Cigarette Being Lit

(opendemocracy.net – Diana Quirmbach – June 3, 2014) Diana Quirmbach is a PhD candidate at University College London. More people smoke in Russia than almost anywhere else in the world, but the government is finally catching up, in clamping down. On 1 June 2014, the landscape of smoking changed dramatically in Russia. While efforts to control tobacco are not new […]

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Russians Are World’s 2nd Highest Spenders on Alcohol

Shelf of Alcoholic Beverages with Red and White Tape Across It

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – May 29, 2014) Russian consumers ranked second only to Estonians in terms of the amount of money they spent on alcoholic beverages last year, Euromonitor International said in a report. While Estonian consumers spent 6.5 percent of their cash on beer, wine or spirits in 2013, Russians spent 5.8 percent, or $61.5 million, on alcohol. […]

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New Law Could Hit Russian Smokers With Massive Cigarette Price Hike

Cigarette Being Lit

(Moscow Time – themoscowtimes.com – May 28, 2014) As Russians brace themselves for a public smoking ban to come into effect on Sunday, lawmakers have submitted a new draft law hiking the minimum price on cigarettes in the latest bid to change the country’s attitude to smoking. The new law would see a 41-percent increase in the minimum price for […]

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Russians Still Among Heaviest Alcohol Drinkers Worldwide, Report Says

Shelf of Alcoholic Beverages with Red and White Tape Across It

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – May 15, 2014) Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev reprimanded the head of Russia’s alcohol watchdog as the World Health Organization published a report classing Russians as some of the world’s heaviest drinkers. Medvedev signed an order faulting Federal Alcohol Market Regulatory Service head Igor Chuyan for “substandard organization of work to enforce government orders,” on Monday, […]

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Russian schoolchildren no longer fit into their uniforms

File Photo of U.S. Diplomat Teaching Class to Russian Students

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Marina Obrazkova, RBTH – April 15, 2014) According to statistics, children in Russia have grown bigger over the past 10 years, largely due to changes in lifestyle and the quality of food. Experts have expressed concern over the trend and claim it is a symptom of a growing health problem among the country’s […]

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Interfax: Most Russians like alcohol, vodka is top preference – sociologists

Shelf of Alcoholic Beverages with Red and White Tape Across It

(Interfax – April 1, 2014) Some 68 percent of Russians drink alcohol from time to time, and vodka, sparking wine and beer top the preference list, the Public Opinion Foundation said. Men (75 percent) like drinking more than women (68 percent). Twenty-one percent of respondents said they never drank alcohol and 10 percent stopped drinking, 4 percent of them did […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] State Council Presidium meeting on family, motherhood and childhood policy

File Photo of Russian Expectant Couple with Mother in Hospital Bed

(Kremlin.ru – February 17, 2014) Vladimir Putin held a State Council Presidium meeting on family, motherhood and childhood policy, in particular with regard to implementing the May 2012 Presidential Executive Orders. Taking part in the meeting were Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko, Deputy Prime Minister Olga Golodets, Presidential Aide Igor Levitin, the heads of federal ministries and agencies, and a […]

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NEWSLINK: Fast food conquers Russia, brings obesity

File Photo of Russian McDbnald's Crew with U.S. Diplomat

[“Fast food conquers Russia, brings obesity” – ITAR-TASS – Lyudmila Alexandrova – February 18, 2014 – http://en.itar-tass.com/opinions/1676] ITAR-TASS tries to blame McDonald’s for Russian obesity: Russia’s first McDonald’s fast food restaurant opened on downtown Moscow’s Pushkinskaya Square in late January 1990, causing unprecedented buzz among Muscovites who formed a multi-kilometer line to taste American fast food. International fast food came […]

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Admiral’s suicide shakes Russia’s healthcare system

File Photo of Patient in Russian Hospital

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Natalia Antonova, Anna Arutunyan – February 17, 2014) The shocking suicide of a Navy admiral has prompted official investigations into the bureaucratic hurdles Russian cancer patients face when trying to obtain pain medication. According to the experts, administrative problems, a lingering Soviet mentality and a misguided drug policy are to blame for continued lack of […]

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NEWSLINK: Shape Up Sochi

File Photo of Sochi Olympics Banner Near Highway in Warm Weather with Vehicle and Cyclicsts Nearby

[“Shape Up Sochi” – Wall Street Journal – Betsy McKay – SOCHI – February 11, 2014 – http://blogs.wsj.com/dailyfix/2014/02/11/shape-up-sochi/] The Wall Street Journal covers efforts to use the Sochi Olympics to encourage health and fitness among Russians. The Olympics are supposed to inspire people to shape up and go for their inner gold, right? In Russia, that’s a big “if.” A […]

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Do Russians need psychological help?

Kremlin and Saint Basil's

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Anna Trofimova, RBTH – February 6, 2014) The Soviet experience taught Russians that it was better to suffer than admit the need for help, but times are changing. It should come as no surprise that living in Russia is hard: It’s cold, wages are low and the government is unresponsive. Nevertheless, Russians have […]

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Putin Touts Public-Private Partnership to Revive Health Care

File Photo of Russian Expectant Couple with Mother in Hospital Bed

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Delphine d’Amora – January 22, 2014) President Vladimir Putin touted public-private partnership, as a means for revitalizing the threadbare public health care system at a meeting with top ministers Tuesday. The sector clearly demands investment, but simply raising the rates that individuals and companies pay into the state’s obligatory medical insurance fund is not an […]

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HIV Epidemic Plagues Russia as Government Rejects Prevention Methods

HIV Infection Microscopic Photo of Cells

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Simeon Bennett and Stepan Kravchenko – January 13, 2014) On a chilly September evening in Novogireyevo, a Moscow suburb of concrete apartment blocks about 16 kilometers east of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s Kremlin compound, a young woman in an orange hoodie approaches Sasha Mazay with an offer that might save his life. Mazay, 33, is one […]

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A Russian City Where Life Expectancy has Declined to 38 Years

Map of Russia

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, January 9, 2014) Karabash, a copper-smelting company town in Chelyabinsk Oblast, has seen the life expectancy of its residents fall to 38 years, the result of massive environmental pollution by a highly profitable company that has turned this city of 13,000 into a kind of hell, “one of the dirtiest in the […]

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Russia Fourth in World For Number of Smokers

Cigarette Being Lit

MOSCOW, January 8 (RIA Novosti) ­ Russia is among the world’s heaviest smoking countries, outranked only by China, India and Indonesia, according to a new report out Wednesday. About 39 million of 143 million Russians smoked as of 2012, the latest year covered by a global group of researchers for a study published in the Journal of the American Medical […]

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Russian hangover remedies: Cucumbers, caviar, and a bath

Shelf of Alcoholic Beverages with Red and White Tape Across It

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Dmitriy Romendik, RBTH – January 1, 2014) During the holidays, a morning hangover can ruin your day. There are many remedies in the world for a hangover, but Russians swear by theirs. A folk wisdom says “What is good for a Russian in the evening, is bad for him in the morning.” This […]

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Undercover at a Russian Hospital

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Eradzh Nidoev – December 13, 2013) It’s 10 a.m. on a Sunday. A thin layer of fog hangs in the air, but I can clearly see the dilapidated concrete building in front of me. It is one of the biggest children’s hospitals in Moscow. I am here to work as an unpaid volunteer. “Do you […]

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Russia sees decline in smokers

No Smoking Symbol

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Ilya Dashkovsky, special to RBTH – December 9, 2013) Higher taxes on tobacco products has forced more Russians to quit smoking. Tobacco users in Russia decreased by more than 5 percent in 2013, and experts expect a new higher excise taxes to reduce further the sale of cigarettes. Every Russian smoker knows the […]

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RIA Novosti: 143,000 Russians Killed by HIV-Related Illnesses – Official

HIV Infection Microscopic Photo of Cells

MOSCOW, November 28 (RIA Novosti) ­ More than 143,000 Russians have died from HIV-related illnesses since records started being kept, a federal AIDS research center official said Thursday. Vadim Pokrovsky, head of the AIDS research and prevention center, said 20,000 people died from complications of HIV last year alone. Rampant drug addiction and lack of effort in improving sex education […]

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HIV rate going up in Russia – watchdog

HIV Infection Microscopic Photo of Cells

MOSCOW. Nov 15 (Interfax) – The HIV rate is on the rise in Russia, according to a sanitary watchdog, which describes it as an “epidemic.” Between January and September this year more than 54,000 new HIV cases were registered, which was 7.1% up on the same period of 2012, the acting head of the Federal Surveillance Service for Consumer Rights […]

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RIA Novosti: Fines for Smoking in Public in Russia Take Effect

No Smoking Symbol

MOSCOW, November 15 (RIA Novosti) ­ Russians now face fines for smoking in public places, including near metro stations and airports, under new amendments to a broad anti-tobacco law that came into force Friday. Smoking within 15 meters (50 feet) of entrances to the metro, train stations and airports, as well as near hospitals, schools and playgrounds, is now punishable […]

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Russians much happier than in the 1990s – poll

Map of Western CIS/FSU and European Environs

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – November 12, 2013)  Over three-fourths of Russians say they are happy, a figure that has grown by a third in the last two decades, a recent poll said. According to a study by the All-Russian Center for Public Opinion Research (VTsIOM), 76 percent of Russians said they were happy, RIA Novosti reported on Tuesday, citing […]

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Cruelty at Russian hospitals: Illegal migration – red herring

Eurasia Map

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Natalia Antonova, Acting Editor-in-Chief – November 8, 2013) An Uzbek migrant in labor was initially denied entry to a Vladivostok hospital and nearly gave birth on the doorstep. Although the Investigative Committee looked into the incident, they will not be launching a criminal case. And the head of the regional branch of the Federal Migration […]

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Putincare: Russia’s Alternative to Obamacare

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Voice of America – James Brooke – October 31, 2013) James Brooke is VOA Moscow bureau chief, covering Russia and the former USSR With Obamacare dividing the U.S., I thought it my patriotic duty to do an undercover investigation of “Putincare.” My weekend did not have the drama of Solzhenitsyn’s 1967 novel “The Cancer Ward,” but it had its moments. […]

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In Russia, ‘Death has Become a Way of Life’

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, November 3, 2013) The Kremlin celebrates every temporary uptick in the Russian birthrate, but it and many others typically ignore another deeply troubling aspect of that country’s deteriorating demographic situation: extraordinarily high death rates among adults and especially working-age males. Indeed, those rates are so high ­ Russia ranks 175th among the […]

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President Putin OKs Stiffer Fines for Smoking in Public

No Smoking Symbol

MOSCOW, October 21 (RIA Novosti) ­ Russian President Vladimir Putin signed off Monday on the introduction of stiffer penalties for smoking in public as the government continues in its battle to improve health standards in the country. The law sets fines of up to 3,000 rubles ($94) for smoking in public places designated as no smoking areas. The steepest fines […]

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Russian Alcohol Intake Has Dropped By a Fourth Since 2010 – Official

Shelf of Alcoholic Beverages with Red and White Tape Across It

(RIA Novosti – MOSCOW, October 17, 2013) Drinking of alcohol by Russians has dropped by one-quarter over the past three years, according to a leading health official. The Health Ministry’s substance abuse specialist, Yevgeny Bryun, said alcohol consumption per capita currently stands at 13.5 liters of pure ethyl alcohol equivalent, down from 18 liters in 2010. The 2010 figure was […]

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Prisoners of the psyche: Forced psychiatry in today’s Russia

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(Moscow News – themoscownews.com – Anna Arutunyan – October 16, 2013) A court last week ordered activist Mikhail Kosenko to undergo compulsory psychiatric treatment for attacking a riot police officer during the May 6, 2012 protest rally on the eve of Vladimir Putin’s inauguration. The ruling sparked concerns among rights activists that Soviet-era punitive psychiatry, when dissidents were found to […]

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Russian Parliament Introduces Fines for Smoking in Public

No Smoking Symbol

(RIA Novosti – MOSCOW, October 15, 2013) Russia’s lower house of parliament on Tuesday approved the third and final reading of a bill toughening the country’s anti-smoking legislation by introducing fines for smoking in public and encouraging minors to smoke. The bill is part of broader anti-smoking legislation that came into force in June. It sets fines of up to […]

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The Revolution Of The Nerds

Kremlin and St. Basil's

(RFE/RL – Brian Whitmore – October 10, 2013) The fact that a Moscow court found Mikhail Kosenko guilty of assaulting a police officer despite video evidence to the contrary didn’t exactly come as a surprise. In recent years, Russian courts have convicted Mikhail Khodorkovsky of stealing oil from himself and Aleksei Navalny of embezzling money without making a profit, just […]

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