Russia: Expert says Putin’s plan ‘pretty awful’
The sanctions introduced by the West on Russia since Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, are already far-reaching. The western allies have imposed a string of financial restrictions, including freezing the assets of Russia’s central bank and limiting its ability to access its reserves. Meanwhile the UK, US and EU have banned people and businesses from dealing with Russia’s Central Bank and wealth fund.
On Thursday, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Psekov said that Russia’s economy was in a state of shock after the West waged an “absolutely unprecedented” economic war against their country.
The spokesperson told reporters: “Our economy is experiencing a shock impact now and there are negative consequences. They will be minimised.
“This is absolutely unprecedented. This economic war that has started against our country has never taken place before, so it is very hard to forecast anything.”
The crashing ruble and likely rise in inflation will affect Russia’s poor the most, with there being a realistic prospect that the country could go into recession.
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Putin implemented a “crazy” and “stupid” scheme to destroy food imported from the West
The West have hit Russia with a wave of sanctions over the invasion of Ukraine
In 2014, Russia was also hit with sanctions by the West after the country’s military illegally annexed Crimea.
Though the measures against Russia at the time were less severe, they coincided with a global drop in oil prices that caused the ruble to plummet.
Nevertheless, in response to the West’s sanctions, Putin implemented a ban on agricultural imports from countries that had imposed sanctions on Russia in a tit-for-tat move.
Then in 2015 Putin signed a decree to destroy banned western food imports, sparking a wave of criticism across Russia, a country where 15 percent of the population lived below the poverty line, according to RFE/RL.
Putin signed a decree to destroy banned Western food imports
Reportedly 10 tonnes of contraband foreign cheese was steamrollered outside Belgoro, a city near the Ukrainian border.
Meanwhile, according to Radio Vesti, in the city of Altai, 100 Dutch apples, Italian kiwis and Polish mushrooms were also destroyed.
The idea that perfectly good food was being destroyed caused massive backlash and sparked an online campaign for the goods to be given to the poor instead.
At the time, Moscow priest Aleksey Uminskiy told RFE/RL: “It is crazy, stupid and mean.
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“This food could be distributed through charity groups who help people in need, the homeless, refugees and the elderly.”
Over 500,000 Russians signed the online petition which asked Putin to cancel the decree and warned of the potential consequences of “playing with food” during an economic crisis.
Olga Savelyeva, who started the petition, wrote on the Change.org site: “Why destroy food which could be fed to war veterans, the pensioners, the disabled, families with many children, the victims of natural disasters, and other people in need?”
The activist stressed that the people listed had been “hurt by these sanctions and forced to restrict their diet up to [the point of] starvation.”
Over 500,000 Russian signed the online petition which asked Putin to cancel the decree
Moscow’s embargo on western food imports led to soaring food prices.
Ms Savelyeva told RFE/RL: “People can’t even afford the most basic food.”
She labelled Putin’s order to destroy food “the most stupid decree ever in Russian history”.
The activist added: “This is the destruction of the population.”
Though the West’s new wave of sanctions against Russia will affect the country’s poor, the measures have also targeted Russia’s most rich and high-profile expats.
On Thursday, the UK hit Roman Abramovich, the owner of Chelsea Football Club, with sanctions, after the Government claimed he had “received preferential treatment and concessions” from the Kremlin.
The oligarch had his assets frozen and has been prohibited from making any transactions in the UK, while he has also been slapped with a travel ban.
Mr Abramovich has vehemently denied reports alleging that he is close to Putin while he claims he has done nothing to warrant sanctions.