Russian liquor laws were more lax than those in other countries until December 2012, when beer was classified as an alcoholic drink. Previously, beer in Russia was considered a foodstuff and was available at most stores throughout the day as a soft drink.
Since 2012, beer is only sold in licensed shops and only during specific hours of the day. The new classification and restrictions on beer was part of an initiative by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to fight alcohol abuse among Russians.
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