The kissing ban could extend even to a husband embracing his wife, a newspaper's website said on Friday.

The newspaper, Stolichnaya Vechernyaya Gazeta, said the city authorities were considering introducing the ban to raise levels of public morality.

"From the New Year, citizens kissing and embracing publicly will be fined," it said, quoting unnamed sources. "Particularly blatant cases could even lead to a spell of temporary detention in jail," it added.

"Our children are getting love lessons all day long from what they see around them"

Tatyana Maksimova,
education official

It quoted a city education official, Tatyana Maksimova, as saying metro travellers were indulging in increasingly lax behaviour including drinking alcohol from bottles and cans.

"Our children are getting love lessons all day long from what they see around them," Maksimova said.

Moscow police would not comment on the report.