The world’s biggest country, in a magazine. Since 1956.
Author: The Editors
Page 7 ( 2 pages)
Moscow’s attack on all things foreign went into overdrive this summer as the Kremlin ordered destruction of embargoed food at the border. This is a politically risky move in a country where many people remember the hunger of the Soviet era, and when the recession has pulled millions of Russians below the poverty line.
President Vladimir Putin quickly backed execution of the proposal “by any means necessary,” following a suggestion by Agriculture Minister Alexander Tkachev, who complained that a lot of Western food is finding its way into the country, disguised as coming from places like Belarus or Brazil.
“Cleansing fire: the first shipment of banned EU food has been destroyed,” the Vesti state news program announced, showing boxes of pork from Denmark, imported via Ukraine, being tossed into a pyre by customs officers. Officials said that new mobile incinerators stand ready for dispatch to Russia’s customs stations.
Previously, products of questionable provenance were simply returned to sender, so some media commentators deemed the new incineration move to be overkill.
“We live in a country that has not eaten its fill for centuries,” wrote Gazeta.ru. “The idea that throwing away or destroying food is sinful unites liberals and imperialists, rich and poor, and is passed down from generation to generation.”
“There is too much symbolism there,” the paper said. “This is how common folk can truly sense the approach of a real war.”
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