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Last Updated: Thursday, 5 August, 2004, 10:59 GMT 11:59 UK
Russia restricts TV beer adverts
By Sarah Rainsford
BBC Moscow correspondent

Russian beer advert
Russian beer adverts will have to change under the new law
The Russian parliament has voted to place tight restrictions on beer advertising, amid growing concerns about the number of beer alcoholics.

The bill, which was approved in its final reading, bans beer commercials on television before 2200 local time.

It also outlaws the adverts at sports events and prohibits the use of humans or animals to promote the drink.

Beer is rapidly rivalling vodka as a favourite tipple. Russia has one of the world's fastest growing beer markets.

But the surge in sales has got politicians here worried.

The authors of the ban say beer advertisements target young people.

They claim that is fuelling a rise in child alcoholism. So the new restrictions break all links between lager and the good life.

Sponsors

The bill bans beer adverts altogether on prime time television. But brewers and the advertising industry are outraged.

They predict a major dent in their profits, while the sports world is also up in arms.

Russia's Olympic team and the premier football league are sponsored by beer brands. They say the ban is a serious blow.

But Russians are not a nation to give in easily.

When vodka adverts were outlawed, the industry used its cunning. Instead of promoting the drink directly, they began advertising snacks, sporting exactly the same famous logos.

Now it looks like beer firms will have to be equally creative.


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