Another Kalashnikov Takes Aim

H/T Mike F for this. Seems the Russian Health minister is called Kalashnikov.

Kremlin Cracks Down on Big Tobacco

Russia, the World’s Second-Largest Cigarette Market After China, Plans ‘Harsh’ Anti-smoking Rules

MOSCOW—The Kremlin is finally getting tough on Big Tobacco, with a determined push to pass strict anti-smoking rules in the world’s second-largest tobacco market.

“We are ready. This is going to be a harsh measure, but it is absolutely necessary. It will take time—maybe another generation—but we will succeed in defeating smoking and promoting a healthy lifestyle,” said a spokesman for Russia’s First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov.

A bill that would establish nationwide smoking restrictions similar to those seen in much of the West—such as limits on advertising and smoking in restaurants—is expected to be submitted to parliament on Nov. 1 for a vote early next year.

A separate effort to raise excise duties nearly 135% by 2015 has already passed a parliamentary committee.

The battle represents a stark challenge to the world’s big four tobacco companies that control 90% of the Russian market….

In Russia, cigarettes cost a little over a dollar a pack, restaurants and bars are normally thick with smoke, and nearly 40% of the population (60% of men) light up, so the bill is a radical step.

Half of the country’s 44 million smokers consume a pack or more a day. Overall, Russians smoke 390 billion cigarettes a year, second only to China, and outpacing the U.S.—which has double the population and about the same number of smokers—by 20%….

Mr. Kalashnikov said the bill will ultimately pass because Mr. Putin—a nonsmoker known for his devotion to sports—has thrown his weight behind it.

“This law would not exist without Vladimir Vladimirovich [Putin]. There is tremendous opposition to it, but it will be adopted,” he said.

Well, that’s going to be fun, when 60% of men smoke!

I can’t help but think that Tobacco Control may be about to meet its match out on the steppes of Russia.

Much like its Nazi predecessor, 70 years ago, it’s trying to do too much too quickly, and it’s becoming dangerously over-extended. I’ve been reading about it.

Seventy years ago today, Paulus’ Sixth Army occupied almost all of Stalingrad apart from a 1000 yard strip along the west bank of the Volga. They’d almost won.

In response to Smokervoter’s music links, here’s Cat Power singing (a different) Remember Me. I really think she should be as big a star as Lana Del Rey. She’s that good.




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22 Responses to Another Kalashnikov Takes Aim

  1. harleyrider1978 says:

    Its no secret that Putin is a Eugenics driven madman. No doubt is behind this move!

  2. smokervoter says:

    So I take it those links worked and you were able to hear the music. There were four more plays than last night on the MySpace page. Well…..?

    Pretty hot stuff, Aye! Britannica truly rules the sound waves. I’ve always heard that the early Brit rock bands imported gospel music, if so they regurgitated it better than the originals. Think the gospel choir ending of “Salt of the Earth” and “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”. Religion played such a huge part in British history. I can’t help but think that there must have been some form of raucous spiritual music going on in the churches. Churchmouse, am I right?

    That song still absolutely floors me.

    Cat Power has got that down home, natural born musical talent thang that puts the manufactured, autotune artists to shame.

  3. smokervoter says:

    In one of the last bands I was in, when a keyboardist
    came aboard, my first notion was for us to do “Don’t Try to Lay No Booghie-Wooghie on the King of Rock N Roll!” All hail Long John Baldry !

    And then there was “I may look like a farmer, baby, but I’m a lover…”

    It just doesn’t get any better.

  4. c777 says:

    Six out of Ten still smoke..
    They’l struggle to pull that one off ,unlike here, the majority are smokers.
    They failed in Greece for the same reason,you cannot bash a majority.
    Anti smoking nutters fall flat on their face when the majority smokes.

    • Frank Davis says:

      I think this is the problem. Smoking bans can really only be implemented when smokers are a minority, and can be easily overridden, and their complaints ignored by a compliant media.

      I rather suspect that Putin wishes to show that Russia can introduce so-called ‘progressive’ reforms just as well as any western country.

      • Marie says:

        I think Russians are more concerned with real problems. No pensions, shit wages, rubbish healthcare, no childcare, bad housing, the rise and rise of organised crime, political corruption and so on. I am really looking forward to the results of this initiative it should prove educational.

  5. Bucko says:

    It isn’t a stark challenge to the tobacco companies, it’s a stark challenge to the Russian people.
    Hopefully they have had enough of top down control and some Tobacco Control blood will be spilt

  6. Marie says:

    The last time there was a tobacco shortage in Russia the workers threatened a national strike. This is going to be interesting. The anti tobacco control freaks have become too used to success and the unquestioning support of the mainstream media. They are, I think, in for a shock. Russia will demonstrate to them, for the first time, the scale of the problem they are facing. One and a quarter billion adults are smokers (worldwide) and who knows how many other forms of tobacco use are not included in that figure. Now the numbers game is going to really smack them in the face. I am looking forward to the results.

  7. jaxthefirst says:

    My understanding was that there was already a ban of some kind in Russia which actually predates ours, but that absolutely no-one took any notice of it. I remember watching a programme not so long ago about young people in Russia in which the commentator, who was at some party-type event, mentioned that people were openly lighting up whilst all around there were no-smoking signs clearly displayed on the walls. When he mentioned this to one of the party-goers, her response was: “Yes, there are no-smoking signs. But this is Russia. If there is a law that the people don’t like, the people take no notice of it.” And that was the end of that!

    I too think that the anti-smokers in Russia are trying to run before they can walk with this proposed strict ban. Even the anti-smoking zealots here realised that they had to do whatever was necessary to force people into giving up in sufficient numbers to make non-smokers the majority by a large margin before they could embark on the “big push” for a total ban. I suspect that the anti-smoking zealots in Russia have fallen prey to the all-too-common mistake that many people make – from aspiring child footballers to X-factor contestants to would-be bestselling authors – of looking at the end product of something that’s taken years and years to develop and thinking “Oh, that looks pretty easy. We’d like some of that. If they can do it, then we can, too,” and have ploughed in without understanding how much preliminary groundwork has to be done to ensure compliance and lack of objection to very restrictive measures like these. I suspect that Russian smokers will take about as much notice of this new ban as they did of their old one.

    • Frank Davis says:

      According to this, there’s hardly anything in the way of bans

      The average price per pack is less than US$2. Smoking is allowed both outdoors and inside — even in children’s environments, public transport and health care facilities. What few restrictions do exist are poorly enforced. For instance, the legal cigarette purchasing age is 18, but minors often buy packs and smoke cigarettes in public.

      Wikipedia agrees.


      Sergei Chikonkin, chauffeur, smokes two packs a day:
      If they discriminate against smokers heavily, there is going to be an upheaval. I will go to the streets to protest if I have to.

      From the first link I gave:

      Russia is the second-largest tobacco market on Earth, after China. Medvedev said that 44 million citizens are hooked on smoking, and his estimation is in line with statistics from the World Health Organization. About 40 percent of Russians smoke, and one-third of the entire population lights up on a daily basis.

      That gives Russia one of the world’s highest rates of smokers per capita.

      Of those 44 million smokers, added Medvedev, about 400,000 die from the habit each year. It’s a serious problem in a country where births have not kept pace with deaths for the last decade and population growth currently stands at zero, according to World Bank estimates.

      It’s always 400,000, wherever you look!

      • beobrigitte says:

        Of those 44 million smokers, added Medvedev, about 400,000 die from the habit each year.
        Doesn’t common sense induce the most obvious question (I wish I had asked it first but sometimes one can’t see the forest because there are too many trees in the way…. ) :
        If 400 000 people die as a result from smoking, how come there is NO illness SOLELY attributed to smoking?

        These days any illness, especially if it is a terminal condition, is associated with smoking, however outlandish – and a large number of other factors, the latter being ignored as SHS damage would be the joke it is.

        Second question: WHY would we try and “save” 3001 (?400 000) lives with “smoking bans” invented by a bunch of fanatics, when we could, at a much lesser cost to the tax payer, save millions of lives by supplying them with our “surplus” on food and water? (After all, we are supposed to have to deal with a frightening “obesity epidemiy…..”)

  8. Some hope (not). Have the Russian learned NOTHING from 1917?

    Trying to control a Russian is like trying to squeeze a whole cat farm into a Safeways carrier bag.

    • beobrigitte says:

      Trying to control a Russian is like trying to squeeze a whole cat farm into a Safeways carrier bag.

      Yep. You try and do the above – I have a seat in the front row as not to miss the spectacle!

  9. gardener1 says:

    Pffttt. Russians are the most disobedient of people.

    Lived there for 5 years. I remember when Putin decided to clean up the ‘decadence’ around the Red Square area and kiosks within a couple of blocks were prohibited from selling beer. The very next day I was down there sitting in the park and a babushka came by with her little plaid cart selling cans of beer. Business was good, everybody bought them.

    Smoking is prohibited in commuter trains. In the passage where the two train cars connect together are big signs posted NO Smoking. That’s where everybody goes to smoke, usually at least 2 or 5 people smoking there.

    Russians don’t do rules.

    I predict that this will not be enforced, will not be obeyed, and will have minimal impact.

  10. Pingback: Banquo’s Ghost | Frank Davis

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