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Lifting Russian food sanctions against Greece untimely — political scientists

July 15, 2015, 15:58 UTC+3 MOSCOW

A lamaker earlier sent an inquiry to Russian President Vladimir Putin requesting to consider lifting the reciprocal Russian sanctions against Greece

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MOSCOW, July 15. / TASS /. The removal of the Russian food sanctions against Greece is premature, Vice President of the Center for Strategic Communications Dmitry Abzalov has told TASS.

Earlier on Wednesday, the Izvestia daily reported that member of Russia’s State Duma Andrey Krutov (the Just Russia faction) had sent an inquiry to Russian President Vladimir Putin requesting to consider lifting the reciprocal Russian sanctions against Greece. The lawmaker said that his proposal was caused by the fact that "Greece was Russia’s reliable partner" and "was close to Russia not only economically, but also spiritually as one of the few Christian Orthodox countries in Europe."

"The lifting of the Russian sanctions against Greece would be a premature step," Abzalov said. "First, we have to understand what agreements will be reached between Greece and the European Union. It’s necessary to avoid the imports of European goods with Greek labels."

He noted that "such a decision would discredit our agro-industrial policies, because our farmers had already invested [in production]. Therefore it would be a wrong step from this point of view as well." The parliamentarian’s initiative was dismissed as self-advertising.

"Greece has not done anything that would prompt us to remove the sanctions against it. It did not lift the anti-Russian sanctions, it didn’t vote against their imposition. Greece remains in the European Union (EU) and is not going to withdraw from it," said journalist and political scientist Pavel Danilin. He voiced confidence that, if the Russian counter-sanctions were lifted, "goods from the entire European Union would pour in to Russia through the Greek window." "I do not know who may stand to gain from this, except for individual food suppliers. Krutov’s initiative does look strange. He has never been a food expert, he was a mortgage expert," Danilin said.

The Russian government earlier extended Moscow’s food embargo against the EU member-countries, the United States, Canada, Australia and Norway until August 5, 2016 inclusive. According to the Cabinet decree, the list of items targeted by the sanctions includes beef, chicken, pork, dairy products, chilled and frozen fish and shellfish, nuts, fruits and vegetables. Dietary supplements, sport nutrition, baby food, medicinal and prophylactic food, salmon fry, seed potatoes, seed onion, sugar beet and pea seeds have been excluded from the list.

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