Saturday 21 November 2020
Putin reacted to the sanctions imposed by the West in the wake of the Ukraine conflict with a temporary ban on the import of food from the EU. Now the Kremlin chief is even extending the embargo by a year. For Russia itself, the decree not only has disadvantages.
Russia has extended its embargo on food from Germany and dozen other countries by a decree by Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin by one year until December 31, 2021. The import ban imposed for the first time in August 2014 on dairy products, meat, fruit and vegetables from the EU was a reaction to the sanctions imposed by the West on Russia in the wake of the conflict in Ukraine. It is about the protection of the national interests of Russia, according to the presidential decree signed and published in Moscow.
The embargo should not only be a revenge for the sanctions imposed by the West. Russia mainly used the situation to renew its own production – for example in the dairy industry – in order to be less dependent on imports. The embargo affects many countries that have imposed “anti-Russian sanctions”, including the USA, Australia, Canada and Ukraine.
Because many embargoed goods such as cheese from France and Italy continue to come onto the market via detours and smuggling, Russia has already had tons of food destroyed. There is also criticism that the elimination of foreign competition has made the prices of Russian food more expensive for consumers in this huge country. In addition, customers sometimes complain of poorer quality than Western food.
Moscow regards the embargo as a success
The politicians in Moscow nevertheless rate the embargo as a great success because it has succeeded in improving self-sufficiency in Russia. The country’s position as an exporter of agricultural products, for example, is also considered to have been strengthened. So Russia recently celebrated itself as the world’s largest exporter of wheat – well ahead of the USA.
Manufacturers in the EU have long since opened up other markets in the USA and China. Kremlin chief Putin has said several times that he will lift the counter-sanctions as soon as the EU ends its punitive measures against Russia. But that’s not in sight.