Putin Orders All Western Food Destroyed. Russia Destroying Tons Of Western Food
Authorities in Russia are stepping up their crackdown on smugglers trying to get round a ban on importing western food.
Several tons of foreign cheese has been destroyed because of an embargo brought in last year in retaliation for western sanctions.
President Putin last week signed a decree ordering the destruction of the food which ranges from gourmet cheese to fruit and vegetables.
The cheese was transported from Ukraine but officials said it was most likely to have been produced in the EU.
Russia complains that some importers are getting round the ban by putting on new labels and claiming the food was produced in neighbouring ex-Soviet countries.
Russia’s Agriculture Minister Alexander Tkachev said the destruction was necessary because the food was of “dubious quality”.
The order will come into effect on Aug. 6 agricultural goods, raw materials and food originating from a country that has made the decision to introduce economic sanctions against Russian entities and/or individuals, or has joined such a decision, and which are prohibited from being imported into the Russian Federation … are subject to destruction,” the decree read, according to the Moscow Times.
The sanctions on Russia and those imposed by the country on Western countries have not affected Russia alone. Many European countries who were large exporters to Russia have also taken a hit. French dairy farmers have been protesting unfair prices and a shrinking market since the start of July, and a large part of that problem was due to the disappearance of the Russian market for French cheese.
The decree doesn’t specify exactly how the food should be trashed.
But photos from Russia show bulldozers squishing cheese, a man throwing ham into a furnace and workers throwing peaches off the back of a truck.
The ban on commercial food imports has hurt both sides. Russia used to account for about 10% of European exports of food and agricultural products. It imported $13 billion worth of European produce in 2013.
But the EU has still had to help some producers. It has spent around $170 million paying farmers to give away or destroy produce to stop prices from collapsing.
MOSCOW — The destruction of more than 350 tons of food by the government this week angered Russians in a nation where some are struggling to feed themselves and many recall the norm of food shortages just a generation ago.
The food was burned and streamrolled beginning Thursday, following a controversial decree by President Vladimir Putin ordering banned products from Europe and the United States to be eliminated before they can seep through the border.
“You can’t just destroy food when there are so many people who have trouble feeding themselves,” said activist Olga Saveleva, whose petition on Change.org had gathered over 320,000 signatures since Thursday.
“The media is gleefully showing how this food is being burned. We have a lot of people going hungry, a lot of people in poverty. There are veterans of (World War II) who remember the blockade” of Leningrad, when hundreds of thousands of people died of hunger, she said. “This is a mockery.”
Moscow banned a wide range of meat, fruit and milk products from the United States and European countries a year ago in retaliation for Western sanctions on Russia over its annexation of Crimea and incursion into East Ukraine. Russia denies it is involved in the ongoing fighting in eastern Ukraine, despite mounting evidence.
In Belgorod they have begun destroying 10 tonnes of cheese’ – the news agencies are reporting it like our troops are advancing on the Second Ukrainian Front,” opposition politician Alexei Navalny wrote on Twitter.