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Medicine Ads May Disappear, Defense Ministry May Pick Up Slack

The Defense Ministry has not announced what it will sell at an upcoming property auction, but previous sales have featured helicopters and armored vehicles. Above, a military helicopter at the MAKS air show last year. Maxim Stulov

Russians are no strangers to military rigor and physical pain — a cultural trait that the government seems keen to incorporate into its advertising strategy.

The Defense Ministry has announced its readiness to spend 24.5 million rubles ($761,000) on an advertising blitz of its upcoming June military equipment auction. The ads will appear across television, radio, print and online platforms, RIA-Novosti reported.

The ministry has not announced what it will sell at the auction, but previous auctions have featured helicopters, armored vehicles and land.

Meanwhile, advertising geared to weaker sorts — perhaps not yet ready to commit to buying an armored vehicle — may be on its way out. Two Duma deputies are proposing to ban ads for medical drugs.

Liberal Democratic Party Deputies Igor Lebedev and Yaroslav Nilov submitted a bill in May that proposes amending the current law on advertising to ban TV ads about drugs and abortions, Rossiiskaya Gazeta reported.

The deputies explained that they oppose the ads because they are used only for the financial gain of drug sellers and manufacturers rather than to inform consumers.

"I am confident that public opinion in the matter is entirely on our side. Any ban on advertising 'clears the air,'" Lebedev wrote in a note attached to the bill. "As for drugs, their choice should not be determined by conscious or unconscious biases and tastes of consumers. It's not clothes, not a car, not a soft drink."

Sergei Kalashnikov, the head of the Duma's public health committee, made a similar proposal in February to ban advertising of all nonprescription medicine. The Health Ministry has not publicly approved the proposal, but is currently working on its own plan to limit drug ads, according to Rossiiskaya Gazeta.

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