Putin food burning campaign starts with Polish imports
PR dla Zagranicy
On the first anniversary of the embargo on food imports from the West to Russia, President Vladimir Putin’s campaign to destroy hundreds of tonnes of smuggled food has started with consignments from Poland.
An activist of the Anti-Maidan movement installs an artwork representing Russian President Vladimir Putin during an outdoor exhibition entitled 'Crimea: Return to Home Port', in Moscow, Russia 16 March 2015. Photo: EPA/YURI KOCHETKOV
Moscow banned many Western food imports last year in retaliation for sanctions imposed by the US and EU during the confrontation over Ukraine.
Putin’s decree ordering the food to be destroyed entered into force on Thursday. It does not specify the methods to be used, but says that the process should be carried out “by any available means” and videotaped, apparently to prevent corrupt officials from helping themselves.
The ban, currently in place until 5 August, 2016, covers a wide range of imports including pork, beef, poultry, fish and seafood, milk and dairy products, fruits, vegetables and nuts.
Russian television showed a small mountain of illegally imported European cheese being bulldozed on Thursday, and workers threw boxes of European cured meat products into an incinerator.
Russian plans for the mass destruction of banned Western food imports have provoked outrage in a country where poverty rates are high.
About 267,000 people have backed an online petition on Change.org, a petition-hosting website, calling on president Vladimir Putin to revoke the decision and hand the food to people in need.
Sanctions have led to a growth in food prices in Russia and annual food price inflation is running at over 20 percent. (jh/rk)