Russians Tweet Goodbyes to American Whiskey, Other Favorite Imported Foods

New Russian restrictions against foreign food products are expected to affect both Russian and U.S. businesses.

A French grocery store in Moscow.
National Journal
Marina Koren
Aug. 6, 2014, 9:40 a.m.

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.”

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