Putin's War on Western Food
This is pretty amazingly stupid. It is almost unbelievable because Russia always need food for people, like many places. The decree is against mostly contraband cheese- yes, you read it correctly- cheese! Not cocaine or other drugs, but cheese. Putin just hates anything Western now, even though, as a teen, he learned English by singing with Beatle songs he heard on the BBC.
The ban on many Western-produced foods normally sent into Russia began a year ago, but somehow, Russians smuggle the contraband in. Most of the contraband is smuggled via the Ukraine, so, perhaps this is really his anger about the Ukraine and less about cheese. Silly, I know, but Putin is that way. The tons of cheese destroyed and buried in a dump site all came from from Europe and Putin blacklisted the cheese during the Crimea takeover crisis because of Europe's sanctions. This pissed off Putin, so he retaliates against innocent food. He calls them counter-sanctions.
Putin does not even want Polish apples or Spanish ham or tomatoes from Poland, my God, any such food trying to sneak across the border checkpoints is seized as contraband. I know, it sounds like a joke, but Putin is dead serious. As for the Russian people, the ruble has decreased in value and food prices have risen 21% because of the Putin anti-West moves. Other Russian leaders have more common sense trying to get Putin to give the food to the poor or starving or let the troops in Eastern Ukraine use them. Yet, this contraband continues to find its way into stores incognito. So, the Agriculture Ministry as issued a warning to buyers that such products cannot be guaranteed as safe. Russian TV has been running public service bulletins warning consumers of this. Really?
So far, besides the tons of cheese destroyed, 28 tons of apples and tomatoes were destroyed from Poland and 40 tons of apricots. Now, Putin is seizing warehouses of legally imported wine and other types. It gets crazier. Now, there are "Patriotic Food Inspectors" going around to grocery stores looking to illegal contraband. Some 73 tons of peaches from Turkey were also destroyed. The economic ban of Western food is worth $9 billion! The odd thing is that Moscow relies of Western food imported by 40%! Despite the population suffering because of Putin's tantrum, they seem to still like him in polls.