Vladimir Putin’s Russia has taken its ban of imported Western products to a whole new level by making good on a promise to burn gigantic piles of illegally imported Western goods. Yesterday, Russia’s state media frantically reported on the bulldozed and incinerated piles of French cheese, German nuts, and American snack foods.
The state-sanctioned Russian ban of all Western food imports went into effect last summer in protest of and in retaliation against Western European and American support of Ukrainian rebels. Earlier this week, in response to the widespread black-market Western products that have cropped up in spite of the ban, Putin ordered that Western foods be destroyed.
Earlier this week, before the mass incineration, troops of Putin supporters descended upon supermarkets in Moscow and St. Petersburg to scour the shelves for illegal items. The strict ban on all Western items has made business difficult for Russian restaurants.
"Clearly you can't replace gorgonzola with a Russian cheese, and a cheese plate is boring without it," chef Andrei Antonov, who owns a restaurant, told the BBC.
Angry protestors are insisting that the illegal food should have been distributed to Russia’s homeless and needy population instead of being destroyed.
“Destroying the food is not humane,” activist Andrei Volkov told the BBC.