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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Fines for Things That Bug Moscow

Moscow may soon make finable offenses out of courtyard fireworks, panhandling, pushy proselytizing, and loud music in apartments during the day.

The City Duma on Wednesday will consider legislation to impose fines of 100 rubles to 5,000 rubles for a raft of activities that the bill's author, Deputy Oleg Bocharov, says are disrupting peace and order in Moscow streets and homes.

The bill is a piecemeal collection of offenses that bug Moscow residents and police, and Bocharov said it is in response to complaints from his constituents.

The bill contains 12 articles listing new administrative offenses and their fines. The proposed offense that is making the most noise in the Russian press prohibits "the disturbance of peace and quiet during the day" and lists disturbances such as televisions, radios, and musical instruments being played loudly.

"If this bill helps soothe one citizen, then it is important," Bocharov said, dismissing suggestions that police or disgruntled neighbors could misuse the daytime noise ban.

The bill, which envisions fines of 100-200 rubles, follows a 2003 municipal law barring loud noise in apartments from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. That law was also drafted by Bocharov, who said 438 fines were handed out in 2003.

Police, who were consulted about the new bill, said they were particularly pleased about proposed bans on setting off fireworks in public places (fine: 100-300 rubles) and car and motorcycle street racing (fine: 300-1,000 rubles). Fireworks and street racing are dangerous activities that can cause bodily harm to participants and bystanders, said police spokesman Kirill Mazurin.

"If you want to set off some fireworks, then go to the dacha or a field and blow up as many as you want," he said.

He noted, however, that the bill does not yet state what noise levels would be permissible, and urged lawmakers to spell it out to help police avoid potential arguments with noisy residents.

Among the other offenses named in Bocharov's bill are swimming in places where it is strictly prohibited (fine: 100-600 rubles), and putting up stickers and notices on walls without permission (fine: 100-5,000 rubles).

The bill also envisions fines for people who "persistently harass citizens in a public place," including panhandlers, street vendors, prostitutes, fortunetellers and missionaries. Proposed fines range from 100 to 300 rubles.

"You go along the street, and someone dirty or maybe sick touches you with his hands," explained Bocharov's spokeswoman, Inna Shevchenko, referring to panhandlers. "Or people come up and say they want to sell you something.

"If you have a complaint now, you can't go to police because they can't do anything," she said.

Mazurin said Russia has a long tradition of the poor asking for help, but in recent years many disabled people who ask for money are being used by unscrupulous gangs.

Other world cities have also taken steps to limit noise and panhandling. As mayor of New York, Rudolph Giuliani implemented a zero-tolerance policy for offenses such as playing music too loudly and drinking in the street. Bocharov said that he did not take his inspiration from Giuliani.

In the future, Bocharov hopes to draft legislation to fine people for making vodka at home and to introduce compulsory drug testing for all teenagers.