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Zhirinovsky Wants Return of Nationwide Temperance Movement

Liberal Democratic Party leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky has taken up the fight against alcohol abuse, proposing the restoration of the All-Russia Temperance Movement.

A report published in January in the British journal The Lancet indicated that 25 percent of Russian men die before the age of 55, with the majority of these deaths attributed to alcohol — particularly vodka.

"In my life I have never bought one bottle of vodka, I studied and worked day and night," Zhirinovsky said Thursday at a roundtable discussion dedicated to tackling alcohol abuse, Itar-Tass reported.

He said that alcohol promotion should be restricted, whereas the harmful effects of alcohol should be more widely publicized.

In particular, Zhirinovsky said that films should be targeted for their portrayal of alcohol consumption. "Children watch it and think that it is good," he said.

He also proposed banning alcohol consumption in the workplace, including at office parties. Additionally, alcoholics should not be hired, since they are disruptive and unreliable, he said. "There should be zero tolerance for such people."

Temperance movements began to appear in Russia in the mid-1800s — the most well-known having been founded by writer Leo Tolstoy. The Tsarist government brought in a "dry law" in 1914 and similar initiatives were taken by the Soviet government. Some scholars have suggested that the 1980s vodka bans contributed to the social and economic unrest that led to the collapse of the Soviet Union.

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