From ITAR-TASS, August 14:
Russian President Vladimir Putin believes heavy drinking and smoking are social problems that surely have to be addressed, but at the same time he preferred to make some reservations. For instance, he warned that sky-high excise duties on tobacco and a re-run of the unsuccessful Soviet-era campaigns against alcoholism would merely cause harm.
As he answered State Duma members' questions at a meeting in the southern resort city of Yalta in Crimea, Putin agreed that the authorities should by all means throw their weight behind anti-drinking and anti-smoking campaigns.
"But it would be very wrong to do that the Soviet way," Putin said adding that that policy had achieved nothing in terms of easing alcoholic abuse.
"People started using substandard alcohol and distilling home-made liquors and so on," he said. In his opinion a comprehensive approach - a combination of healthy lifestyles and fitness - would be far more effective.
Putin acknowledged that some government officials were for a drastic hike in the excise duties on tobacco. However, he is certain that if such a measure is taken overnight, smokers will not be smoking less, but just switch to all sorts of crap." If excise duties are to be raised after all, that must be done slowly, step by step.
Also, Putin replied to the idea of struggle against energy drinks. He agreed that counter-measures should be far more resolute than they have been so far.
When asked about foreign investment, Putin said he was certain foreign investors' money in Russia should enjoy reliable protection.
He pointed out that Russia must create conditions that would let any investor, including a foreign one, feel that there was no risk of being cheated.
"If a person or company has brought in investments, they are to be certain the investments will not be taken away, that they are under the protection of government policies," he said. . . .
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via Johnson’s Russia List, August 14, 2014