Russian cheesemakers are delighted to see business booming amid sanctions that limit the supply of milk and cheese into Russia.
“Without sanctions we would not exist,” one Russian cheesemaker told The Washington Post. “When you pressure Russians, even with something like cheese, we only become stronger,” he elaborated defiantly.
Russia is currently facing an annual 300,000 ton cheese deficit as a result of sanctions, chairman of Russia’s National Association of Milk Producers told The Washington Post. “It’s still not the full variety that was coming through Europe, but slowly but surely they’re replacing those cheeses,” he continued.
Sanctions are radically altering the Russian food market with imports now only constituting 22 percent of all food sales, down from 34 percent just one year earlier. The cheese market has been even more effected, with a 49 percent drop in imports since 2014.
Russia’s government angrily retaliated against Western sanctions in 2015, by literally bulldozing tons of European foodstuffs. The U.S. and the European Union placed sanctions on Russia in 2015 for its illegal annexation of Crimea, and its ongoing surreptitious armed incursion of Ukraine.
Russian anti-poverty activists reportedly were furious with Russian President Vladimir Putin for destroying the food, rather than distribute it to the needy. After a bill was introduced in the Russian parliament to distribute western foodstuffs to the poor, the Kremlin said they could not do so because the food was “unsafe.”
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev justified the ban, saying it would boost the Russian agricultural sector while Russia’s total economy sagged. “We aren’t afraid of sanctions,” he repeatedly states publicly, echoing sentiments on patriotic t-shirts seen in Russia.
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