Prohibited and controlled advertising

Prohibited products and services

What products and services may not be advertised?

Advertising of the following products and services is not allowed:

  • goods or services that are forbidden for manufacture and sale;
  • narcotics, psychotropic substances and their precursors, as well as plants and their parts contained in them;
  • explosive compounds and materials, except for pyrotechnic products;
  • body organs or human tissue as an object for sale or purchase;
  • unregistered goods that are subject to state registration;
  • goods that are subject to mandatory certification or other obligatory confirmation of compliance with technical regulations, in case such certification or confirmation was not undertaken;
  • goods for which a licence or other special permission is necessary where such permission was not obtained;
  • tobacco, tobacco products and goods, as well as smoking accessories, including pipes, hookahs, cigarette paper and lighters;
  • medical services for artificial pregnancy termination; and
  • services on drafting a graduation (qualification) thesis and other qualification works required for passing educational exams.
Prohibited advertising methods

Are certain advertising methods prohibited?

It is not permissible to use, in radio, television, video, audio media, cinema or other content, ‘subliminal’ advertising defined as advertising that exercises the unconscious effect, including by use of special cut scenes, double sound recording or by other means.

Spam emails, as well as other advertising messages sent to a subscriber without his or her consent, are not allowed. Shock tactics in advertising may give rise to consideration of breach of special rules on protecting minors.

Protection of minors

What are the rules for advertising as regards minors and their protection?

For the purpose of protecting minors from abuse of their confidence and lack of experience, the Advertising Law bans:

  • discrediting parents and tutors and undermining confidence in them;
  • igniting minors to persuade parents or other persons to purchase the advertised goods;
  • creating a false impression that the advertised goods are available to a family with any level of income;
  • creating the impression that possession of the advertised goods gives advantage among peers;
  • creating an inferiority complex for minors owing to non-attractiveness or to non-possession of the advertised goods;
  • demonstrating minors in dangerous situations, including cases where actions create risk to life or health; and
  • underestimating the level of skill necessary to use the advertised goods.

There are also prohibitions to addressing minors in the advertising of certain goods (eg, alcohol). Further, the advertising of content (video games, films, etc) requires compliance with the special legislation on age rating and must be age appropriate.

Credit and financial products

Are there special rules for advertising credit or financial products?

The Advertising Law provides detailed regulation of advertising of credit or financial products. This type of advertising is under specific attention from FAS. The requirements may be generally represented as:

  • a specific indication of who renders the products must be given;
  • no promises or guarantees of investment profitability, if it cannot be determined at the moment of entering into the relevant contract, must be made; and
  • other conditions of service, influencing the income or expenses or sum of credit or loan, if advertising mentions at least one such condition, must be mentioned.

There are also specific rules on disclosure of information for financial advertising relating to real estate investments, securities and other financial services.

Therapeutic goods and services

Are there special rules for claims made about therapeutic goods and services?

Advertising for all products, except for medicines and medical services, shall not contain indications of medical properties.

For medicines and medical services (and for medical devices), the Advertising Law provides detailed rules, including a ban on creating the impression that it is unnecessary to visit doctors and a ban on addressing minors in advertising; the claim shall not guarantee a positive effect, safety, effectiveness or lack of side effects.

Food and health

Are there special rules for claims about foodstuffs regarding health and nutrition, and weight control?

Advertising of biologically active additions and dietary supplements shall be accompanied with a warning that the advertised product is not a medicine. Further, such advertising shall not:

  • create an impression that the product is a medicine or has a medical effect;
  • refer to specific cases of curing or improvement of conditions as a result of consumption;
  • display gratitude from individuals as a result of consumption;
  • ignite termination of following a healthy diet; or
  • create an impression of the product’s advantages by referring to tests, obligatory for the registration of such products, or use results of other research in the form of a direct recommendation to consume.

Advertising of baby food shall not represent the advertised products as a full substitute for breast milk and shall not state advantages of artificial nutrition for babies. There shall also be information on age restrictions and warning on the necessity of professional advice in the case of advertising substitutes for breast milk and products for babies of up to 12 months old.


What are the rules for advertising alcoholic beverages?

Advertising of alcoholic beverages (including beer) shall not:

  • state advantages of consuming alcohol (eg, to achieve success or improve mood);
  • criticise abstention from alcohol;
  • represent alcohol as safe or helpful for health (including by indication of vitamins or food additives in alcohol beverages);
  • represent alcohol as a one-off way to satisfy thirst;
  • address minors; or
  • use images of human beings or animals, including by way of animation.

Various restrictions exist on the advertising media: alcohol advertising cannot be published:

  • on transport vehicles;
  • on the first or last pages, or on covers, of magazines and newspapers (with an exception for beer and Russian-produced wine);
  • on television or radio (except for sport events broadcasting under specific conditions and except for wine produced in Russia); or
  • in or near educational or some other institutions.

Restrictions are also imposed on promotional campaigns. Online advertising of alcohol is also banned.

Permitted alcohol advertising shall be accompanied with warnings of harm as a result of alcohol consumption.

There are legislative initiatives on changing the situation with the ban on beer advertising on television.


What are the rules for advertising tobacco products?

Advertising of tobacco, tobacco products and goods, as well as smoking accessories, including pipes, hookahs, cigarette paper and lighters, is forbidden in Russia.


Are there special rules for advertising gambling?

The general rules for the advertising of gambling are:

  • minors cannot be addressed;
  • it cannot be implied that gambling is a way of generating earnings or other income;
  • statements that overestimate the chance of winning or underestimate the risk of losing must not be included;
  • no reference can be made to winners that, in fact, did not receive an award;
  • no statements that gambling is important for achieving success can be made;
  • non-participation in gambling cannot be criticised;
  • no impression of a guaranteed win can be made; and
  • the use of images of human beings or animals is not permitted.

The advertising needs to provide information on the specific gambling at issue (organisers, terms, etc), as well as provide the terms under which prizes are drawn.

Various restrictions on where the advertising may be published also apply, depending on the types of advertised gambling (sport bookmaking, casinos, etc).


What are the rules for advertising lotteries?

Advertising of lotteries shall not:

  • address minors;
  • give the impression that lotteries are a way of generating earnings or other income;
  • overestimate the chance of winning or underestimate the risk of losing;
  • refer to winners that, in fact, did not receive awards;
  • state that lotteries are important for achieving success;
  • criticise non-participation in gambling; and
  • give the impression of guaranteed wins.
Promotional contests

What are the requirements for advertising and offering promotional contests?

Advertising of promotional contests requires an indication of the terms under which the contest is held, as well as provide information on the organiser of the contest, rules of holding the contest and the amount of prizes or awards as result of the contest, as well as the terms, place or ways to obtain them.

Indirect marketing

Are there any restrictions on indirect marketing, such as commercial sponsorship of programmes and product placement?

Sponsorship advertising requires an indication of the sponsor. Tobacco sponsorship advertising is not allowed. The duration of sponsorship (as well as other advertising) in television programmes shall not exceed 20 per cent of broadcasting time within 1 hour and 15 per cent of broadcasting time within one day. Special rules are set for sponsorship advertising during television programmes for minors.

Other advertising rules

Briefly give details of any other notable special advertising regimes.

It is forbidden to use non-Russian language words or expressions without translation or transliteration in advertising, if such use may lead to distortion of meaning of the information in the advertising. An exception is made for trademarks and foreign companies’ names; they may be used in advertising without translation or transliteration.

Advertising as such shall not be offensive (with regard to nationality, cultural properties, etc); there is a specific ban on this under the Advertising Law.

Political and religious advertising are out of the scope of the Advertising Law.