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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

City Claims Liquor Ban Successes

City authorities claimed Thursday to have made headway in the battle against the sale of hard liquor in Moscow's kiosks and markets.

On the first day of enforcement, July 1, 44 percent of checks at open-air markets turned up illegal booze, but by July 9, violations were found only 15 percent of the time, according to government statistics.

There were 8,374 checks conducted at 2,605 kiosks during that period, with 379 violations, authorities said. Two hundred twenty-seven trading licenses were revoked.

"Our objective is to protect the consumer," said Vitaly Usov, deputy director of the city's Department for Consumer Trade and Services, at a press-conference. "We will continue working ... until the decree is enforced in full."

President Boris Yeltsin imposed the ban to combat the sale of liquor on which taxes have not been paid. Kiosks and markets are prime locations for bootleg alcohol trade, as well as for contaminated booze.

The decree forbids establishments without walk-in sales space to sell liquor with more than 12 percent alcohol, such as vodka and whiskey; beer and wine are still permitted.

Vycheslav Klochkov, head of the Interior Ministry's economic crimes section in Moscow said that 45 criminal cases were brought last year against bootleg producers. Most were operating out of basements and apartments, Klochkov said. This year, 17 criminal proceedings have been instituted, including one against an illegal distillery operating out of a Young Pioneers camp in the Moscow region.