Vladimir Putin Made an Exception to His Ban on Western Food to Import Caviar

The tins have a Russian brand name and do not note the country of origin

Russia is sourcing their caviar from an Italian sturgeon farm.

Although Vladimir Putin has ordered officials to burn Western food and banned French cheeses and Polish cabbage, he decided to make an exception for one luxury dish: caviar.

Putin implemented the ban on Western food last year, but has excluded caviar from the list.

The Russian president sources his caviar from the Italian sturgeon farm Agroittica Lombarda — producer of Calvisius caviar. Lelio Mondella, managing director of Agroittica, told Bloomberg that there was a catch in this deal with Russia, saying, “We’ve had to put a Russian brand name on the tin, and we don’t put ‘Made in Italy’ on it.”

Agroittica runs the largest sturgeon farm in Europe, which produces about 25 tons of caviar each year.

Russia turned to imported caviar because there are boundaries placed on overfishing wild sturgeons in the Caspian Sea.


“Rich and powerful Russians can’t do without it, so they have made an exception,” Mondella said. “The Russians want to eat Russian caviar. I understand that. Who would buy mozzarella cheese made in Russia?”