TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting with Government members

Aerial View of Kremlin and Environs

(Kremlin.ru – April 26, 2017) Vladimir Putin held a meeting with Government members to discuss import substitution in industry and agriculture. Other subjects of discussion included preparations for children’s summer holidays, work on the draft law on responsible treatment of animals, and the programme to build or reconstruct village cultural centres. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon colleagues. Today, […]

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RUSSIALINK RBTH/Vzglyad: “Food import substitution turns out to be extremely profitable”

File Photo of U.S. Dairy Cows

“Russia has saved $4 billion since it began substituting imported products in response to the imposition of food embargoes by the U.S. and EU, the Agriculture Ministry says. But is this enough to encourage the future growth of production?”

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NEWSWATCH: “China Goes Food Shopping-to Russia; ‘Everything that can be consumed by a human being in China is something they’re interested in,’ Russian official says” – Wall Street Journal/AMIE FERRIS-ROTMAN/Liyan Qi

Asia Map

China bought more than $1 billion in food products from Russia last year, replacing Turkey as the top importer of Russian foodstuffs. … central to Russia’s economic and political pivot toward Asia, as the Russian economy continues to suffer under Western sanctions and the low price of oil, and U.S.-Russian relations deteriorate …. Russia and China … describe current relations […]

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NEWSLINK CNN: “Dining under Putin: How sanctions are fueling a Russian food revolution”

Truck at Russian Border Crossing

“Import bans have failed to put the kibosh on Russia’s culinary inventiveness. Restaurants are returning to what Russia does best, such as traditional dishes made with root vegetables such as beetroot.”

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NEWSLINK Politics.eu: “Russia’s boom (farming) economy. Kremlin credits Western sanctions. The truth is more complicated.”

Field of Grain file photo

“… When the West slapped sanctions on Russia in 2014 and Moscow retaliated with a trade embargo, the consensus was that Moscow was shooting itself in the foot by banning fresh produce from the EU. A little more than two years later, the Kremlin insists the sanctions have galvanized a new generation of Stakhanovite farmers to smash production targets and propel the country […]

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Russia Shifts Focus From Oil To Agriculture

Oil Well file photo

(Oilprice.com – Michael McDonald – October 13, 2016) Michael MaDonald is an assistant professor of finance and a frequent consultant to companies regarding capital structure decisions and investments. Russia’s biggest industry has been oil production historically, but the country appears to be trying to diversify that by putting more emphasis on agriculture. The former soviet state has been relying on […]

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NEWSLINK Washington Post: “Please pass the Russian Parmesan: Cheesemakers celebrate sanctions, and hope they continue.”

File Photo of U.S. Dairy Cows

“… When Russian President Vladimir Putin banned most food imports from Europe in 2014 in response to Western sanctions, Russian dairy farmers rejoiced as deliveries of French and Italian cheeses ceased. Now, they believed, they could compete. Since then, they have tried to duplicate all sorts of famous varieties, from Camembert to Emmenthal. But one global delicacy remains largely beyond […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting with Agriculture Minister Alexander Tkachev

Field of Grain file photo

(Kremlin.ru – September 27, 2016) Vladimir Putin met with Agriculture Minister Alexander Tkachev. The Minister briefed the President on the planned grain harvest and the Russian agricultural industry’s export potential. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Tkachev, harvesting is gradually moving towards completion. What result will you report this year? Agriculture Minister Alexander Tkachev: The outlook is better than ever. […]

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Putin Is Growing Organic Power One T-34 Tank-Tomato at a Time; Backed by billionaires’ cash, Russian food exports are now worth more than Kalashnikovs and all other military hardware combined.

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Anatoly Medetsky, Matthew Campbell, Yuliya Fedorinova – June 7, 2016) [Photos and charts here bloomberg.com/news/features/2016-06-07/putin-is-growing-organic-power-one-t-34-tank-tomato-at-a-time] Deep in the Caucasus, downriver from Europe’s highest peak, North Korean women roam Soviet-era hothouses growing what tycoon Vladimir Evtushenkov is betting will be his next big bounty: the T-34 battle tomato. The plump hybrids, named for the fearsome tank that […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russian Village Resists Privatization Effort Championed by Putin. Locals, activists and lawmakers rally to prevent sale of century-old state-owned dairy plant.” – Wall Street Journal

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

The Russian government’s privatization drive soured in a village called Milk. The dairy plant here that for more than a century has churned out Russia’s most-recognizable brand of butter was scheduled to be auctioned in mid-February, the latest target to raise cash for the budget. But after locals, activists and lawmakers held rallies and petitioned President Vladimir Putin and other […]

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Russians Spend Half Their Incomes on Food For First Time Since 2008

File Photo of Older Russian Woman Shopping in Grocery Store

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – April 19, 2016) For the first time since 2008 Russians are spending more than half their monthly income on food, as falling real incomes force them to buy only basic necessities, a study published Tuesday revealed. In February, Russians spent 50.1 percent of their earnings on food products, including alcohol and tobacco, according to the […]

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The pitchforks are coming; Farm workers in the depths of southern Russia are hardly a protest constituency, but corruption and corporate raids have pushed them to the brink. They may even take their grievances to Moscow – by tractor.

Russia Regions Map

(opendemocracy.net – Svetlana Bolotnikova – April 7, 2016) Svetlana Bolotnikova is a Russian journalist and correspondent for KavPolit, an online publication specialising in political developments in the Caucasus. Aleksei Volchenko, 37, is a farmer in Kalininsky district, in the Kuban area of southern Russia. There are no large cities or towns here, just stanitsy, Cossack villages. Residents either work their […]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting with Agriculture Minister Alexander Tkachev

File Photo of Wheat Field in Kenya, adapted from image at usda.gov

(Kremlin.ru – March 9, 2016) Mr Tkachev briefed the President on preparations for spring sowing campaign and the Ministry’s current work. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Tkachev, we are nearly in the middle of March. Thus, a natural question is how have we prepared for spring sowing campaign? It usually involves three components: funding, fuel and lubricants, and fertilisers. […]

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NEWSLINK: “Could sanctions spur Russia’s ascent to agricultural superpower? Since the end of the Soviet era, Russia’s agricultural industry has languished. But with sanctions now keeping European goods out of the Russian market, small domestic farmers are stepping up.” – Christian Science Monitor

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NEWSWATCH Reuters: “Grim reality sets in for Ukraine wheat crop”

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

Reuters covers Ukrainian agricultural production following some unfavorable weather conditions earlier in the year. Ukraine’s 2016 wheat crop is … sailing into uncharted waters given both the significantly missed planting target and a record percentage of crops in poor condition. … the world’s sixth-largest wheat exporter[] has faced one of the most challenging winter planting campaigns this year than ever […]

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NEWSWATCH Wall Street Journal: “Russia Takes Aim at Turkish Economy Amid Fighter-Jet Spat. Turkish officials reject Vladimir Putin’s call for an apology.”

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

The Wall Street Journal covers Russia’s response to Turkey’s shoot-down of a Russian military jet. Russia has reacted with fury to the incident and vowed to retaliate by clamping down on trade and business ties. … Turkish President … Erdogan dismissed Mr. Putin’s demands that Ankara apologize or offer compensation …. Turkey has provided evidence that it gave repeated warnings […]

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EU-Russia food fight masks business as usual

EU Map

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Liam Halligan in London – September 22, 2015) For several days in late July and early August, thousands of farmers across North East France used tractors to obstruct roads from Germany. The aim was to prevent trucks carrying agricultural goods from crossing the Rhine. In South West France, too, more Gallic protesters, similarly mounted […]

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Russia to Ban Genetically Modified Organisms in Food Production

File Photo of U.S. Dairy Cows

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – September 21, 2015) The Russian government will ban production of goods using genetically modified organisms (GMOs), Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich was quoted as saying Friday. “The question is complicated, but the decision was made: We are not going to produce any food products using genetically modified organisms,” Dvorkovich said at an agricultural forum, the […]

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How Next Round of Russia’s Disintegration May Begin

Russia Regions Map

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, August 24, 2015) In his poem, “The Fall of Rome,” W.H. Auden wrote that it could be signaled not by some dramatic event but rather by “a bored official” scribbling a note and leaving his office to go home, a reminder that enormous tectonic shifts often begin with small things that most […]

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Shopping Spray: Loutish Russian’s Beer-Biting Patriotism

Truck at Russian Border Crossing

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Anna Shamanska – August 22, 2015) Stas Baretsky is foaming at the mouth about banned Western goods in Russia. As the food-destruction craze over banned Western goods continues in Russia, the St. Petersburg Orthodox Union of Cossacks and a very large former band member have joined in. The group went to a local store of the […]

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Interfax: Embargoed food destruction backed by 42% of Russians, 38% against

Kremlin and River

MOSCOW. Aug 21 (Interfax) – Most Russians (83%) are aware of the destruction of embargoed food smuggled into Russia from the European Union, the United States, Australia, Canada and Norway, the Public Opinion Foundation has said. Russians have mixed feelings about the decision made by the authorities: 42% say the embargoed food needs to be destroyed, and 38% claim the […]

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Poll: Banned food better be given to needy, orphans

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

(Interfax – August 13, 2015) Forty percent of Russians have backed the authorities’ decision to destroy embargoed food, while the number of opponents is a bit higher (48 percent), the Levada Center has told Interfax on Aug. 13. In the opinion of the respondents, the food would better be given to orphanages, homeless shelters or hospitals (43 percent) or be […]

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RIA Novosti: Food spending taking up most of Russian household budgets – poll

File Photo of Older Russian Woman Shopping in Grocery Store

(RIA Novosti – August 11, 2015) Food items are becoming the largest part of the household budget, particularly meat and chicken, according to a poll commissioned for the Bank of Russia by the Infom company, RIA Novosti (part of the state-owned International News Agency Rossiya Segodnya) reported on 11 August. “The main items Russians are cutting back on are groceries, […]

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Russians cheesed off as authorities destroy ‘EU’ food

EU Map

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – bne IntelliNews- August 6, 2015) Nine tons of presumed EU-made cheese seized after entering Russia from Ukraine were bulldozed into the ground on August 6 as officials enforced Kremlin orders to destroy prohibited Western products, despite protests from citizens struggling with rising food prices. The first batch of hundreds of tons of food earmarked […]

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Ukraine Famine Monument Erected In Washington

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

(RFE/RL – Tony Wesolowsky – August 6, 2015) After years of work and some setbacks, a memorial to the millions who perished in the Ukraine famine of the 1930s, or Holodomor, has been erected in the U.S. capital. The monument — a bronze slab resting on a stone plinth and showing a field of wheat stalks — was winched off […]

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Russians split over destruction of banned food imports

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

Russian is to destroy confiscated Western food products that fall under the Russian embargo at the border starting from August 6. According to the presidential decree, embargoed foods will be destroyed both at the border and after being seized from stores. However, some observers are calling on the government not to destroy the products, but give them to the needy. […]

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Russian Food Prices Stabilize After Months of Racing Inflation

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anastasia Bazenkova – August 3, 2015) After a year of skyrocketing food prices that have forced many Russians to spend less on what they eat, the cost of many categories of food has finally begun to stabilize or fall, official data show. Food price inflation has been one of the harshest consequences for ordinary Russians […]

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NEWSWATCH Wall Street Journal/Ariel Cohen: How Russia Could Become a Food Superpower

File Photo of Wheat Field in Kenya, adapted from image at usda.gov

Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Ariel Cohen addresses historical shifts in Russian agriculture, and what the future might hold. Russia could be a food superpower, given its vast soil and water resources. It still may become one, but the question is whether the food will be Western or Chinese. Since the beginning of the Ukrainian conflict, the Russian economy has […]

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Interfax: Russia proves it can feed itself – Medvedev

Dmitri Medvedev file photo

ROSTOV-ON-DON. June 5 (Interfax) – Over the ten months after it introduced the embargo on food from the European Union, Russia has proved that it can feed itself on its own, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said. “The past ten months, from the moment the special economic measures were introduced, have shown or proved, if you will, the main thing: […]

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Shadow Economy, Rural Self-Sufficiency Allowing Russia to Weather Sanctions, New Study Finds

Diverse Paper Currency, Coins, Line Graph

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, May 31, 2015) Russia’s shadow economy and the self-sufficiency of Russians living outside of the major cities of the country “have allowed Russia to survive the crisis and the introduction of sanctions without large losses, according to five-year-long study of provincial society carried out by sociologists at Moscow’s Higher School of Economics. […]

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Russia on track for poor harvest

File Photo of Wheat Field in Kenya, adapted from image at usda.gov

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Ben Aris in Moscow, May 28, 2015) Russia is on course for a poor harvest after rains failed in key agricultural regions in the south. Following a record harvest in 2014, this year’s grain production could fall to levels last seen during the disastrous drought of 2010 – bad news for an economy already […]

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NEWSLINK Wall Street Journal: Russia’s Beloved Borscht Reveals Reality of Inflation. Retired Siberian journalist tracks ingredients to document the country’s soaring food prices

Red Cabbage and Green Cabbages, adapted from image at pnnl.org

Russia had its most severe year-over-year monthly inflation in 13 years in March, the result of a plunge in crude oil prices, a devalued ruble and the Kremlin’s ban on an array of Western food imports imposed in retaliation for sanctions over Ukraine. Overall, inflation climbed to 16.9% compared with a year earlier, according to the state statistics service, pinching […]

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Russian Cabbage Prices Triple as Much-Loved Staple Falls Victim to Inflation

Red Cabbage and Green Cabbages, adapted from image at pnnl.org

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Howard Amos – April 27, 2015) The cost of a cabbage in Russia has almost tripled in less than six months. The Russian staple – and a key ingredient in traditional dishes such as the famous shchi soup – leads the field among foods suffering from inflation because of huge ruble devaluation in 2014 and […]

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Agriculture eases Ukraine’s economic pain

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – Sergei Kuznetsov in Kyiv – April 22, 2015) While Ukraine’s steel, heavy engineering and power sectors have been crippled by the war in the east and the economic crisis, agriculture has become the country’s leading source of export revenue and the only sector putting in a positive performance. Even so, farmers are facing difficulties […]

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NEWSWATCH AP: American farmer among the winners in sanctions-hit Russia

Eurasia Map

[“American farmer among the winners in sanctions-hit Russia” – AP – James Ellingsworth – Apr. 1, 2015] AP examines the impact of Ukraine-related Western sanctions on Russia, such as increased prices for some farmers, instability in international projects, and evolving energy relations between Russia and China. The impact of sanctions, and a Russian embargo, on agriculture is apparently mixed. Russia’s ‘counter-sanctions’ ban on food imports […]

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Interfax: Russia’s grain harvest tops 105 million tons in 2014

Field of Grain file photo

(Interfax – January 8, 2014) Agriculture Minister Nikolai Fyodorov has reported a record grain harvest of 105.3 million tonnes collected in Russia in 2014. “According to updated reports, Russian agrarians produced 105.3 million tonnes [of grain] in what people call granary weight,” he said at a meeting with Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. The premier said the previous year “was rather […]

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The Battle for the Siberian harvest

Map of Russia

(opendemocracy.net – Georgy Borodyansky – November 28, 2014) Georgy Borodyansky is an Omsk-based correspondent for Novaya Gazeta. President Putin’s special envoy to the Urals, recently praised the region’s farmers for their heroic efforts to save the harvest. But it won’t save them. President Putin’s special envoy to the Urals, recently praised the region’s farmers for their heroic efforts to save […]

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Interfax: U.S. Department of Agriculture raises Russian grain harvest forecast to 102 mln tonnes

Field of Grain file photo

MOSCOW. Dec 1 (Interfax) – the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service raised its forecast for Russia’s grain harvest in the current farm year (July 2014-June 2015) by 1 million tonnes to in November to 102 million tonnes. It raised its estimate for grain exports by 1.5 million tonnes of 29.5 million tonnes. The USDA boosted its forecast for […]

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Unnecessary Sacrifice

File Photo of U.S. Dairy Cows

(Institute of Modern Russia – imrussia.org – Alexander Podrabinek – November 24, 2014) Prominent Russian journalist, writer and human rights activist. His articles appeared in Novaya Gazeta, Ezhenedelny Journal (Ej.Ru), Grani.Ru, et al. He is a regular guest at Ekho Moskvy radio station. Podrabinek is also a well-known Soviet dissident and former political prisoner. In 1977, he published a book […]

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Russian agricultural production soars after food sanctions

Field of Grain file photo

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – October 21, 2014) When Russian President Vladimir Putin cut off European Union imports of agricultural products earlier this year, one of the rationales was to give a boost to the badly underdeveloped domestic sector – and it seems to working. September’s retail and investment numbers were down but agricultural production soared by 16.8% year-on-year […]

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Interfax: Muscovites say food embargo doesn’t hamper food quality or assortment – poll

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(Interfax – October 7, 2014) Food quality and assortments have not changed amid Russia’s retaliatory “food embargo” but prices have gone up, Muscovites told the Public Opinion Foundation. Two-thirds (66 percent) of 1,000 Muscovites polled over the phone on September 28 approved of the ban on food imports from a number of Western countries, 21 percent criticized that step and […]

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Interfax: Russia dramatically reduces imports of sanctioned products from non-CIS in August

Truck at Russian Border Crossing

MOSCOW. Sept 9 (Interfax) – Russia dramatically reduced imports of products that are under the food embargo in August compared with July. The food embargo was imposed on August 7, 2014. According to the Federal Customs Service (FCS), vegetable, dairy, poultry and pork supplies declined the most dramatically. So, in August the cost of imports of vegetables amounted to $35.3 […]

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Moscow’s Food War With West Could Hurt Russia Most

File Photo of U.S. Dairy Cows

(RFE/RL Explainer – rferl.org – Charles Recknagel – August 21, 2014) Moscow’s sweeping ban on food imports is meant as a slap in the face to Western powers for imposing sanctions on Moscow over Ukraine. But the ban is also causing food prices to rise in Russia, which is a major importer of food and has few immediate supply alternatives. Here are four things to know […]

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Moscow Times: Putin’s Food Ban Splits EU on Wisdom of Russia Sanctions

File Photo of U.S. Dairy Cows

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Alexander Panin – August 18, 2014) The European Union’s united front on Russia sanctions seems to be buckling, as Eastern European countries hit hardest by Moscow’s retaliatory food import bans begin to question the wisdom of wrecking their economies in the name of a strategy that has seen the crisis in Ukraine only escalate. Hungarian […]

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