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Butt Out, Russian Officials

Published: July 2, 2014 (Issue # 1818)



  • Russians are resentful of overzealous officials proposing bans targeting their way of life.
    Photo: Gordon Anthony McGowan / Flickr

Women Under 40 Prohibited, shouted the newspaper headline.

From what? I wondered. Becoming judges or school principals? Joining social clubs for the middle-aged?

The answer, when I read further, was equally absurd.

The article was on a proposal debated in the Russian parliament this month. Lawmaker Ivan Nikitchuk had introduced a bill to ban the sale of cigarettes to women under 40. Violators would be fined 3,000 to 5,000 rubles ($90 to $150).

Lets leave on one side the obviously discriminatory nature of a legislative move that would be unthinkable in any other European country.

Although the idea seems straight out of a political satire, it is indicative of a way of thinking in the upper echelons of government. Many Russian officials believe that tight control and restrictions are the best approach to a range of social issues from drug addiction to reproductive health.

Nikitchuk says the smoking ban for younger women would help preserve the genetic resources of the nation.

All normal Russian people want to leave a healthy generation to follow after them, and we do not want our country to turn into a land of disabled people and allergy sufferers, Nikitchuk said in an interview withKommersant.

When a woman smokes, she creates infertility risks for herself and is much more likely to give birth to an unhealthy child. Over the past 20 years the number of women in Russia who smoke has tripled. And it is high time to act.

Asked why the proposed ban does not target the male population, Nikitchuk said wait for it that men who smoke have already punished themselves enough because smoking effectively reduces their sexual potency.

In recent months the Russian state has produced an avalanche of ever more sophisticated and intrusive restrictions meant to improve public health.

In February, Russian officials expressed grave concerns about the quality ofwomens underwearand banned lingerie that does not reach a 6 percent threshold for moisture absorption.

Moisture absorption in many of the most popular synthetics used in frilly panties is reportedly around only 3 to 3.6 percent. All of these wrong types of lingerie are due to disappear from the shelves in Russia, Kazakhstan, and Belarus, which form a customs union, byJuly 1.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Saturday, Nov. 1


The men and women who dedicate their lives to fitness get their chance to compete for the title of best body in Russia at todays Grand Prix Fitness House PRO, the nations premier bodybuilding competition. Not only will men and women be competing for thousands of dollars in prizes and a trip to represent their nation at Mr. Olympia but sporting goods and nutritional supplements will also be available for sale. Learn more about the culture of the Indian subcontinent during Diwali, the annual festival of lights that will be celebrated in St. Petersburg this weekend at the Culture Palace on Tambovskaya Ul. For 100 rubles ($2.40), festival-goers listen to Indian music, try on traditional Indian outfits and sample dishes highlighting the culinary diversity of the billion-plus people in the South Asian superpower.



Sunday, Nov. 2


Check out the latest video and interactive games at the Gaming Festival at the Mayakovsky Library ending today. Meet with the developers of the popular and learn more about their work, or learn how to play one of their creations with the opportunity to ask the creators themselves about the exact rules.



Monday, Nov. 3


Non-athletes can get feed their need for competition without breaking a sweat at the Rock-Paper-Scissors tournament this evening at the Cube Bar at Lomonosova 1. Referees will judge the validity of each matchup award points to winners while the citys elite fight for the chance to be called the best of the best. Those hoping to play must arrange a team beforehand and pay 200 rubles ($4.80) to enter.



Tuesday, Nov. 4


Attend the premiere of Canadian director Xavier Dolans latest film Mommy at the Avrora theater this evening. The fifth picture from the 25-year-old, it is the story of an unruly teenager but the most alluring (or unappealing) aspect is the way the film was shot: in a 1:1 format that is more reminiscent of Instagram videos than cinematic art. Tickets cost 400 rubles ($9.60) and snacks and drinks will be available.



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