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Russia

This Cigarette-Crazy Nation May Finally Get Public Smoking Ban

RIA NOVOSTI (Russia) KOMMERSANT (Russia)

Worldcrunch

MOSCOW - Smokers, so much for the wild East. The public smoking bans already in place in Western Europe look set to expand to Russia by 2015, RIA Novosti reports. The Russian Duma will be voting on new smoking legislation that includes restrictions on advertising and sales of cigarettes, as well as a general ban on smoking in public places.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev is the proposed law’s biggest cheerleader. The Prime Minister has said that the total ban on smoking has already been instituted in the Russian White House, where his government is based, RIA Novosti reports.

Medvedev noted that there are slightly fewer smokers among the government than in the general population: One in five Duma members smokes. There are 44 million smokers in Russia, which is one third of the total Russian population, including children.

Russia has the highest percentage of smokers in the world, Kommersant reports. Not unsurprisingly, the president of the National Medical Association says the sooner smoking is banned in public places, the better.

But not everyone agrees: Lev Rubinshtein, a poet, says that if people perceive repression against smokers, they might pick up a cigarette as an act of protest, Kommersant reports.

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Society

Parenthood And The Pressure Of Always Having To Be Doing Better

As a father myself, I'm now better able to understand the pressures my own dad faced. It's helped me face my own internal demands to constantly be more productive and do better.

Photo of a father with a son on his shoulders

Father and son in the streets of Madrid, Spain

Ignacio Pereyra*

-Essay-

When I was a child — I must have been around eight or so — whenever we headed with my mom and grandma to my aunt's country house in Don Torcuato, outside of Buenos Aires, there was the joy of summer plans. Spending the day outdoors, playing soccer in the field, being in the swimming pool and eating delicious food.

But when I focus on the moment, something like a painful thorn appears in the background: from the back window of the car I see my dad standing on the sidewalk waving us goodbye. Sometimes he would stay at home. “I have to work” was the line he used.

Maybe one of my older siblings would also stay behind with him, but I'm sure there were no children left around because we were all enthusiastic about going to my aunt’s. For a long time in his life, for my old man, those summer days must have been the closest he came to being alone, in silence (which he liked so much) and in calm, considering that he was the father of seven. But I can only see this and say it out loud today.

Over the years, the scene repeated itself: the destination changed — it could be a birthday or a family reunion. The thorn was no longer invisible but began to be uncomfortable as, being older, my interpretation of the events changed. When words were absent, I started to guess what might be happening — and we know how random guessing can be.

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