Russian MiniLessons: Санкции России -Russian Sanctions

The following bilingual Russian MiniLesson is meant to build your vocabulary by providing Russian phrases within English text. Hover over the bold Russian to reveal its English translation.

In response to sanctions placed on it by other countries, Russia has implemented a number of counter-sanctions. Many of these have been controversial.

The sanctions include составление списка лиц, которым запрещен въезд на территорию России, mainly US and EU politicians who were especially arduous in implementing sanctions on Russia.

Продуктовые санкции were also imposed by presidential decree on August 6, 2014. Thus, the Russian government ввело годовой запрет на импорт говядины, свинины, овощей и фруктов, мяса птицы, рыбы, сыров, молока и большинства видов молочных продуктов из США, стран Евросоюза, Канады, Австралии и Норвегии. These countries had imposed sanctions on Russia.

Russia later expanded its sanctions to include запрет на импорт арахиса из США. Later, Russia added запрет на импорт живой птицы из США after it was discovered that importers had switched from importing meat to importing live birds and then slaughtering them in Russia. Further, on June 4, 2015 вступил в силу запрет на импорт рыбных консервов из Латвии и ЭстонииEstonia.

On June 24, 2015, President Putin подписал указ о продлении продовольственного эмбарго до 5 августа 2016 года. The bans were initially only to last one year.

Meanwhile, sanctions were also clarified to allow some foodstuffs to be выведены из-под санкций: биологически активные добавки, спортивное, детское и лечебно-профилактическое питание (в том числе безлактозная продукция), мальки лосося и форели, молодь устриц и мидий, а также семенной картофель, лук-севок, сахарная свекла и горох для посева. These are things which, it was judged, the Russian market does not currently supply enough of and were needed in significant supply immediately.

Starting from September 1, 2014, the Russian authorities ограничили государственные закупки товаров лёгкой промышленности у иностранных поставщиков – ткани, верхнюю одежду, спецодежду, нательное белье, а также одежду из кожи и меха.

However, despite sanctions, Russia did not succeed in preventing Western foodstuffs from entering Russia, largely because, as Russian officials have stated, Belarusian and Serbian companies organized the реэкспорт запрещенной европейской продукции by illegally changing the production labels. So, Russia imposed restrictions on food imports from Serbia and Belorussia as well. Russians joked about some instances of this re-exportation. For example, Belarus, a land-locked country, was suddenly exporting large amounts of seafood that it allegedly produced to Russia.

In addition, much produce came to Russia via Belarus без указания страны происхождения or with falsified forms с указанием Турции, Сербии, Македонии и ряда африканских стран, в частности Зимбабве which don’t fall under the embargo, as the country of origin. In another case, a St. Petersburg port received several refrigerated containers labeled “chemical goods” which actually contained embargoed meat.

Some food suppliers found loopholes in the embargo regulations. For example, производители сыра из Европы нашли способ обходить эмбарго, ввозя свою продукцию под видом безлактозной. According to the Federal Taxation Service, import of lactose-free cheese grew by 750% in 2014 as compared to 2013.

According to the Russian Customs Service, only about 10% of all illegal shipments were stopped. Citing this, in the fall of 2015, the Russian authorities started уничтожение ввозимых в РФ подсанкционных товаров. Before this, any shipments were returned to the owner, at cost to Russia. The owner often then made a second attempt to export his/her goods to Russia.

RBC business news agency reports that after the food embargo was imposed, Rosselkhoznadzor (Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance) резко увеличил активность, issuing permissions to Belarussian companies for supplying meat dairy products, and to companies from New Zealand, Argentina, and Nicaragua for supplying meat to Russia. Such licenses give Russia greater oversight of products coming into Russia.

Some experts have been extremely skeptical about possible outcomes of Russia’s embargo. Kommersant newspaper wrote that «торговую войну» ведёт страна, составляющая 3% мирового ВВП против стран общим «весом» в 40 % мирового ВВП, indicating that Russia is essentially fighting massively more powerful enemy and stands little chance of winning.

At the same time, the foodstuff embargo does not significantly damage the EU countries’ economies, Kommersant reports, because экономика Евросоюза мало зависит от экспорта сельхозпродуктов, их доля в экспорте — менее 5 %. Furthermore, экспорт продовольствия в Россию составляет менее 1 % общего экспорта Евросоюза. Many experts assume that Russia was hoping that the disproportionate political sway that farmers have in the EU would help force a dialog on sanctions.

President Putin and others in the Russian government have claimed that the sanctions will give impetus to the development of Russian agriculture and to замена импорта. Economists have noted growth in Russian agricultural production and economic activity. However, if this growth would be continued after sanctions are lifted and Russian products once more compete with foreign products is debated.

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About the Author

Andrei Nesterov

Andrei Nesterov leads SRAS' Research Services, performing remote archive research and consultations for researchers around the globe. Andrei graduated from Ural State University (journalism) and Irkutsk State Linguistic University (English). He also studied public policy and journalism at Duke University on a Muskie Fellowship and taught Russian at West Virginia University. As a journalist, he has reported in both Russian and English language outlets and has years of archival research experience. He has travelled Russia extensively and penned many stories on the “real Russia” which lies beyond the capital and major cities. Andrei also contributes news, feature stories, and language resources to the SRAS Family of Sites.

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