Russia in bid to ban online alcohol sales

6th May, 2014 by Amy Hopkins

The Russian government has proposed a bill to ban sales of alcohol online in a bid to further tackle the prevalence of the black market.

Russia-online-alcohol-ban

Russian lawmakers have proposed a bill to ban all online alcohol sales

According to The Moscow Times, State Duma has proposed to amend its alcohol regulation law by blocking all websites which sell alcohol.

The measure is part of a wider bid to crackdown on the illegal market, which encompasses counterfeit alcohol and sales of alcohol after a mandatory 11pm cutoff.

Duma deputy Viktor Zvagelsky, the main sponsor of the bill, claimed that 10% of all alcohol sold in Russia is purchased online, however some analysts have refuted this figure.

It has been speculated that if passed, the bill could affect online retailers such as Utkonos, a spokesperson for which told Russia’s business news station RBC that “the largest players will suffer”.

The “long-distance” sale of alcohol was first banned in 2007, however online retailers have since turned to various legal loopholes.

Zvagelsky has also proposed that discounts and coupons for alcoholic drinks should be banned, as well as the sale of alcohol as part of a set with other items, which he claims could lead to breaches of the country’s minimum pricing policy.

Russia increased the minimum retail price of vodka from 170 rubles (US$4.72) to 199 rubles (US$5.56) for 500ml bottles in March this year.

This latest legislative amendment has been proposed as part of the government’s efforts to crackdown on illegal trade, which recent figures suggest accounted for 55% of the whole vodka market in 2013.

A complete ban on alcohol advertising was introduced in Russia in January 2013.

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