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Russia Lawmaker Wants Pot, Prostitution Made Legal

A deputy from the ruling United Russia party has called on Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to legalize prostitution and cannabis in the Baltic seaside resort of Svetlogorsk to help boost the town’s tourist trade.

Valery Pryzhkov, a lawmaker in Svetlogorsk’s city government, said the move would also help fight against HIV in the Kaliningrad region town.

There are about 4,000 people living with HIV in Russia’s Baltic exclave.

“We can use the successful European experience and set up an experimental platform in the region,” Pryzhkov said in a letter to Putin, as quoted by the newkaliningrad.ru web portal.  

Russia has around 5 million drug users and has been one the countries worst-affected by drugs trafficked from Central Asia.

President Dmitry Medvedev has called Afghan heroin a threat to Russia’s national security. 

Pryzhkov said also called for the abolishment of visa requirements for EU businessmen and the transfer one of Russia’s four specially-designated gambling zones - now being built in the region - to Svetlogorsk.

“The region is promising for the development of business tourism and cooperation between Russian and European businesses,” Pryzhkov said.

Similar initiatives in other Russian regions have ended in failure. There was even a reported attempt to start a red light district in Moscow in the early 1990s but it was also unsuccessful.

en.rian.ru/society/20120119/170844138.html

 2012-01-20

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