How Badly is Putin’s Food Ban Hurting Russia?

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People sit on the terrace of a closed McDonald's restaurant, the first to be opened in the Soviet Union in 1990, in Moscow on August 21, 2014. Russian authorities shuttered four Moscow McDonald's due to alleged sanitary violations on August 20, 2014, including a restaurant that once symbolised reviving Soviet-US ties, as tensions sizzled over Ukraine.  The announcement comes in the wake of Russian bans on US and EU food imports in response to Western sanctions over Moscow's perceived backing for rebels in eastern Ukraine. (Photo by Alexander Nemenov/AFP/Getty Images)

People sit on the terrace of a closed McDonald’s restaurant, the first to be opened in the Soviet Union in 1990, in Moscow on August 21, 2014. Russian authorities shuttered four Moscow McDonald’s due to alleged sanitary violations on August 20, 2014, including a restaurant that once symbolised reviving Soviet-US ties, as tensions sizzled over Ukraine. The announcement comes in the wake of Russian bans on US and EU food imports in response to Western sanctions over Moscow’s perceived backing for rebels in eastern Ukraine. (Photo by Alexander Nemenov/AFP/Getty Images)

Russia’s ongoing food ban, which President Putin put into effect two months ago now, has created a “ripple effect” throughout Europe, affecting everything from Polish apples to Finnish cheese. But perhaps the country hit hardest by the ban is Russia itself, which, according to recent reports, is currently suffering an inflation rate of more than 8% per yer. Food prices in September alone climbed 11.4% on the year, the Moscow Times notes.

According to the Moscow Times, prices rose fastest on meat and fowl, which rose an astounding 16.8% and 14.1% on the year, respectively.

For all the price increases the country has endured, however, Russians seem to be pretty chipper about the situation. “Things [under the ban] will change, but then they’ll return back,” said Alexandra Aksheva, 27, who spoke with NPR. “It’s not better for Russia,” she added, “but it’s temporary.” Meanwhile, old timers like Ivan Alexeyevich seem to have taken a much more patriotic view of the ban. “The West doesn’t have to feed Russia; Russia can grow food for itself.” He says Russians merely have to look at Soviet times to see that the country is capable of sustaining itself. “Everything was Soviet, everyone ate Soviet, Russia didn’t depend on the West – so there’s nothing to worry about.”

The food ban originally affected “all imports of meat, fish, vegetables, milk, and milk products from the U.S., European Union, Canada, Norway, and Australia. It’s been in effect since August 7th and applies to all Western nations that are currently imposing economic sanctions against Russia for its annexation of Crimea,” according to Bloomberg.

At the end of August, however, the country backpedaled somewhat, allowing for the selected importation of products which could help to boost its own agricultural industry, according to the Moscow Times. The government is now allowing for the importation of “hatchlings of salmon and trout as well as seed of potatoes and seed of onion,” as well as “sugar maize hybrid for planting and peas for planting.”

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