Russian alcohol crackdown topples monument to vodka

MOSCOW Thu Feb 7, 2013 12:26pm EST

A handout picture shows a monument in the shape of a vodka bottle in the Russian Urals town of Glazov June 15, 2011. REUTERS/Aliona Chudanova/Handout

A handout picture shows a monument in the shape of a vodka bottle in the Russian Urals town of Glazov June 15, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Aliona Chudanova/Handout

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MOSCOW (Reuters) - A Russian monument to a bottle of vodka has been toppled over fears that it could be seen as an illegal advert for the country's favorite tipple.

The three-meter metal sculpture had become a local landmark in the Urals town of Glazov, 1,000 km (600 miles) east of Moscow. But residents woke up one morning last week to discover it had disappeared, leaving only an empty plinth.

The bottle's fall reflects a new, sober spirit of the age in Russia under President Vladimir Putin, a judo blackbelt who rides, flies and dives for the TV cameras but is rarely seen raising a glass - unless to toast a billion-dollar oil deal.

Putin signed a ban on all alcohol advertising in July last year, while other laws have banned sales of alcohol from street kiosks or after 11 p.m. at night.

Initial reports suggested that local authorities were behind the disappearance of the memorial, erected 13 years ago to mark the centenary of the local Glazovskiy spirits factory.

But factory bosses later told local media they had decided to remove the monument from public view over fears that it could fall foul of the strict new advertising laws.

"The bottle monument...might be considered as an advert for our products. For this reason, a decision was taken to remove it," Dmitry Pozdeev, the head of the factory's legal department, told local media. The sculpture was moved into the factory.

Russian media suggested anti-drinking campaigners might have more work left to do in the region. They pointed out another sculpture to meat dumplings - a popular Russian drinking snack - is still standing in the regional city of Izhevsk.

(Reporting by Sonia Elks; Editing by Douglas Busvine and Oliver Holmes)

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Comments (13)
kestrel27 wrote:
The Russian people will just figure a way around the law and the Russian version of “Liberalism” in action and keep drinking vodka. What I find amazing, is how people worldwide, set themselves up as arbiters of what people can and cannot do and try and control everyone else’s behavior. They’re called Progressives, yet they are always pointing the finger at everyone else and accusing them of doing what it is they’ve done.

Feb 07, 2013 10:38am EST  --  Report as abuse
GMMiller wrote:
“11pm at night” is redundant.

Feb 07, 2013 1:20pm EST  --  Report as abuse
jaham wrote:
@kestrel27…I couldn’t agree more.

There’s nothing wrong with holding progressive ideals and living by them.

What is wrong is imposing your own beliefs upon the free will and rights of others; something which is, ironically, REgressive…

Feb 07, 2013 2:30pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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