In retaliation against recent U.S. and European Union sanctions, Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday ordered his government to identify foreign goods from countries that have imposed sanctions that will be banned from Russia for one year. Affected countries include the United States, all E.U. member states, Canada, Australia, and Japan.
Over time, the ban could hurt some American companies with Russian trade ties. For example, when Russia banned all U.S. poultry imports for nine months in 2010, U.S. chicken producers lost an estimated $400 million in Russian sales.
But the restrictions will likely be felt first and most by Russian grocery stores and restaurants — and the people who go to them. The New Republic's Julia Ioffe has collected a great sampling of expat journalists' reactions. Some Russians, she points out, are used to dining on Dutch cheeses and French wine, like top Kremlin adviser Vladislav Surkov, who tweeted that he's gone "out to buy scotch whiskey":
Some Russian speakers on Twitter turned on the sarcasm to convey how the ban hurts Russia instead:
(Translation: "And in response to your sanctions, we declare a nationwide hunger strike, so shame on you!")
(Translation: "The next country to introduce sanctions against Russia was Russia.")
The list of banned foodstuffs has yet to come, but Russians on Twitter are already bidding goodbye to some of their favorite imported products that they suspect may be affected. In response to the ban, @alex_fletch tweeted, "Saying goodbye to American whiskey. Sanctions, however" with a photo of Jack Daniel's:
@marchukaites shared a similar fear, tweeting, "Pray now that your favorite Putin didn't ban your favorite whiskey."
"Goodbye French cheese, brandy and Beaujolais!" tweeted @Jozef_Schweik.
Putin has previously called the Internet a "CIA project," prompting this user to tweet, "Food - a CIA project."
@vic_dnepr was perhaps least optimistic of them all. "Putin tells the people: there won't be any food, and you'll have to eat shit," the tweet read. "The good news is that we have a lot of shit."