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Russia Sues U.S. Tobacco Companies

by Catherine Wilson
AP Business Writer
Thursday, Sept. 14, 2000
Source: Washington Post

Joining a long line of nations seeking retribution from U.S. tobacco companies, Russia is suing the industry for damages in Miami, home of a record anti-tobacco jury verdict. Russia's lawsuit, filed Aug. 27, seeks millions, if not billions, in damages to compensate the nation for health care spending on smoking-related illnesses, plus punitive damages.

The office of Kremlin property manager Vladimir Kozhin filed the lawsuit. Kozhin's office had no comment on the lawsuit Thursday. Attorney Nancy Ashenoff said it follows the lines of other lawsuits filed by her firm for Ecuador, Venezuela and Brazilian states. . .

"Due largely to Big Tobacco's own fraud, the (Russian) Federation has not adopted stricter anti-tobacco measures," the lawsuit charged.

State Duma deputy Alexei Mitrofanov filed a suit in one of the Moscow municipal courts, claiming to declare activities conducted by Philip Morris and British American Tobacco in Russia illegal.

He said at a press conference today that products sold by these two companies on the Russian market did not meet state standards, because cigarette packs did not bear any information about the manufacturers or an expiration date. In the opinion of Mitrofanov, this is a severe violation of Russian legislation and an encroachment on consumer rights.

Source: Russia Today
(Dec 29, 2000)

A HARDLINE lawmaker in Russia's Parliament on Friday said he has filed suit against cigarette makers Philip Morris and British American Tobacco, accusing them of concealing information about their Russian factories.

Foreign cigarette brands dominate the Russian tobacco market. Many of the foreign brands are produced at factories in Russia, but packaging carries no information about the location where the cigarettes were made.

Lawmaker Alexei Mitrofanov, a member of nationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky's political party, said he has filed a civil suit against Philip Morris and British American Tobacco for "the absence of information about producers and of an address where complaints can be filed."

Mitrofanov said he demanded 500 million rubles (about $18 million) in damages. The suit was to be heard by a district court in Moscow in January or February, Mitrofanov told reporters.

He said he also intends to file a separate suit accusing foreign tobacco companies of supplying inferior quality cigarettes to Russia.

Source: The Economic Times (India)
(Dec 30, 2000)

What About Russian Hypocracy?

In a report released on 9/12/2000, CNN showed how Russian officials blatantly ignore No Smoking policies throughout government buildings and other institutions.

In a country where more than 70% of males smoke, indoor air pollution from second hand cigarette smoke is a serious problem. Yet, Russian leaders, the individuals who make the laws, refuse to give up smoking while inside buildings.

The pictures below provide a photo documentary of the situation.

Russian Smokers Ignoring Posted Sign

Duma Official Comments

Duma Deputy Official
"We have to set an example for the rest of the country."

Duma Official Comments

Duma Deputy Official
"It's a serious problem in Russia --
making laws that no one obeys."

Smoker Angry About Camera

Russian Lawmaker
Smoking in front of TV camera

Smokers Use Paper Ashtray

No Regular Ashtrays
Smokers make ashtray by folding up piece of paper

Smokers Flick Ashes to Floor

No Ashtray, No Problem
Smokers "flick" ashes to floor

Women and Men Smoke Openly

Woman and Men Smoke Openly

Military Man Gloats About Ignoring No Smoking Rule

Smokers Claim Victory
Over Government No Smoking Policy

Leader Jokes Saying He Did Not Inhale

Russian Leader Jokes
"At least I didn't inhale"


'Vodka and smoking lay Russians low'
The Guardian reports that, 'The health of Russians is getting worse, experts said yesterday. Interfax news agency quoted Oleg Shchepin of the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences as referring to "a national catastrophe". He was speaking at a health ministry meeting called to discuss the decline seen in the last year. Mr Shchepin said overall life expectancy fell by one year in 1999 to 65.5 years, an average age of 59.8 for men and 72 for women. The general level of illness had risen 15%. The death rate was 14.7 people per 1,000 while the birth rate stood at 8.4 per 1,000, Mr Shchepin said. The official 1998 figures were 13.6 and 8.8 respectively.'

The article adds, 'Andrei Vorobyev, a haematologist, was quoted as saying at the meeting that two of the main reasons for the worsening figures were smoking and vodka, which resulted in more cancer cases, heart problems and death from accidents.

Source: The Guardian, 25 October 2000