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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

City Vows to Enforce Old Advertising Ban

The Moscow city government is finally going to get tough about banning cigarette and alcohol advertisements downtown, according to city officials.

Firms displaying such ads in the center of Moscow are to be fined 77, 000 rubles (about $64) per ad per day, officials said Tuesday.

The introduction of fines, ordered by Mayor Yury Luzhkov last week, is the latest development in a long-running battle that has been waged for months between advertisers and city officials, but has so far produced little effect on Moscow streets.

Eduard Babromnikov, the deputy head of the city government agency responsible for collecting the fines, said he intends the ban to be enforced this time.

Although no fines have yet been imposed, Babromnikov said, "I have no doubt that our workers will be able to fulfill their duties".

According to Luzhkov's order, the fines, equivalent to 10 times the minimum monthly salary, apply to all ads for alcohol and tobacco within Moscow's architectural and historic center, as well as near kindergartens, schools, and cultural sites.

Several advertising executives were unavailable for comment, but tobacco industry officials reacted skeptically to the news Tuesday.

"It is very easy to pass a law", said one company official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "But it is a lot harder to implement it".

His cynicism springs from the ban's lengthy legal history. The city has also banned foreign-language billboards unless accompanied by Russian translations but such signs still proliferate.

The now-defunct City Council passed a resolution on July 2 banning tobacco and alcohol ads from billboards, bus shelter signs and other outdoor signs, as well as from all print and broadcast media in Moscow.

The Mossoviet decision was then followed later that month by a health law passed by the now-dissolved Russian parliament, banning tobacco advertising from all mass media in Russia.

But that decision, which never defined the term mass media, also made no impact on the cigarette and tobacco ads on Moscow streets over the last year.

Removing lucrative tobacco and alcohol advertising from Moscow would hurt the city's budget. A survey released in October by the Deloitte & Touche consulting firm showed that the ban would cost Moscow $48 million in lost revenue over the next five years.