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Russian city approves the 'cat stomping' law

Published time: January 30, 2013 21:03
Edited time: January 31, 2013 01:03
AFP Photo / Soe Than Win

AFP Photo / Soe Than Win

The legislative assembly in St Petersburg has approved a bill that introduces fines for loud noises at night dubbed the “cat stomping law.”

The fresh amendment to the City Law on Administrative Offences forbids shouting, whistling, knocking on walls, moving furniture, singing, playing musical instruments and other activities from eleven in the evening till seven in the morning.

The law says first time offenders will be warned, but repeat offenders will be punished with fines from 500 to 4,000 rubles ($16-$130). Officials will be fined between 5 to 10 thousand rubles and legal entities – 25 to 50 thousand rubles. The bill does not go into detail on how much noise people can make in their official or business capacity, but most likely the provisions are intended for those who rent offices in residential buildings. The new legislation only applies to residents of apartment blocks.

It’s been dubbed the “cat stomping” law after one of the deputies suggested that the list of violations should include loud moaning at night as well as dog howling and cat stomping. These violations were not included in the final version of the bill.

Previously the deputies decided the law should be amended with additional limitations and started collecting suggestions from the public. As a result, Deputy Aleksey Timofeyev said he had received numerous letters from voters complaining their neighbors were making too much noise during sex. The same politician also asked legislators to “solve the problems of those who suffer from howling dogs”.

Some politicians, however, have objected to the new rules on the grounds they are excessive. Activists from the youth branch of the liberal party Yabloko said they wanted to put a bed near the office of the legislative assembly so that a man and a woman could get into it and “imitate the movements that could potentially make a noise.” The bed never materialized as local police have banned the installation of “architectural forms”, such as beds, in the streets of the historic city. Members of the Russian Public Chamber also thought the new regulations were misguided and frivolous and called upon the St. Pete legislators to take a more serious approach to their work.

The law on responsibility for disturbing the silence was first introduced in St Petersburg two years ago. Then deputies introduced restrictions on recorded and live music, songs, shouting and also making repairs and setting off fireworks, including firecrackers.

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