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Beer Becomes Alcohol

The Federation Council approved a bill classifying beer as an alcoholic drink Wednesday, for the first time subjecting the beverage to the same controls as wines and spirits.

The package of amendments to alcohol legislation broadens the definition of alcohol to any product containing more than 0.5 percent alcohol, but exempts kvas and kefir, which typically contain between 0.5 and 1 percent alcohol.

The sale of alcohol will be banned between 11 p.m. and 8 a.m., with the exception of bars and restaurants, and advertising for any form of alcoholic beverage will be forbidden. An exception is allowed for kiosks to continue selling drinks with less than 5 percent alcohol around-the-clock until Jan. 1, 2013.

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