Legal mess signals ‘happy hour’ for alcoholics

As Russia toughens its stance on alcohol, the Moscow region seems to be going in the opposite direction.

Locals can now buy booze from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Previously they had access to alcohol stores only from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

The expanded window complies with a federal law signed by President Dmitry Medvedev in July.

It will allow Muscovites to stock-up on booze at large shopping centers located outside of the capital.

July’s new anti-alcohol law is part of a national program to tackle alcoholism. In recent years Russian authorities have been doing their best to address the issue, including amending existing laws, which were considered too lenient on the production and distribution of alcohol.

Statistics suggest that the number of regular drinkers has dropped 6 percent since the program was launched two years ago.

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