Moscow, Jan 2 (IANS) Many Russians woke up on the first day of the New Year only to be greeted by a new harsh reality -- they can no longer pick up a bottle of beer when stopping by street stands late at night as many of them did in the past.
Under a new law, which turned effective from Jan 1, beer has been reclassified as an alcoholic beverage, meaning it is not available in night time sale from 11.00 p.m. to 8.00 a.m., Xinhua reported Wednesday.
Earlier, beer with less than five percent 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 country.
A 2011 WHO study said 20 percent of the deaths among Russian men and six percent of deaths among women could be attributed to alcohol abuse.
Under the new law now, any alcoholic drinks, including beer, cannot be sold near children's educational institutions, sport facilities and in public transport from Jan 1, ITAR-TASS news agency reported.
But alcoholic sales at shops located in residential blocks are 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 violation of alcohol trade rules.