Russia Burning ‘Contraband’ Food From West
A year after it imposed an embargo on most produce, meat, and dairy products from the United States and European Union, Russia has launched a campaign to destroy all contraband foods found in the country.
This past week “federal agencies began confiscating and burning hundreds of tonnes of illicit cheese, fruit and other products (1 tonne = 1.10 U.S. ton),” acting on a decree signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Financial Times reported.
Incinerators to destroy the foods have been put in place at Russian border points.
In Moscow, officials said they had seized 28 tonnes of meat products from Canada, the Netherlands and Germany, and 28 tonnes of Polish apples and tomatoes.
Under Putin’s decree, authorities now have the right to destroy any contraband food that they find in restaurants and grocery stores. Previously it was illegal to transport sanctioned food products into Russia but not to sell them once they had arrived.
Now a Duma deputy has proposed a bill that would make importing contraband food products into Russia a criminal offense carrying a jail term of up to 12 years.
Russia banned the items last August in retaliation for Western sanctions and to boost Russia’s own agriculture industry.
As a result, consumers have faced higher food prices due to the lack of supply.
The campaign has also raised questions about destroying food in a nation where more than a tenth of the population lives below the poverty line, the Financial Times noted.
Vladimir Soloviev, a pro-Kremlin TV host, tweeted: “I don’t understand how a country that lived through horrible famine during the war and the post-revolution years can destroy food products.”
Most contraband food enters Russian from Belarus, which has an open trade border with Russia.
This tells you what a sick person Putin is!