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Destruction of banned food imports is forced but effective measure - analysts

August 06, 2015, 16:33 UTC+3 Zamyatina Tamara
© Press service of Rosselkhoznadzor (Russian agricultural watchdog)

MOSCOW, August 6. /TASS/. Russian presidential decree (effective as of Thursday) requiring the elimination of foods imported from those countries which had agreed to join the current campaign of sanctions against Russia is a forced measure and a very harsh one, but it has already borne fruit, polled experts have told TASS.

According to Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich, at the moment about 800 attempts at violating the embargo have been identified. On Tuesday the first batch of a prohibited a food item — 114 tons of pork brought in from the European Union under forged documents — was eliminated. On Thursday, 20 tons of cheese and also three truckloads of peaches will be destroyed. The chief of the agriculture watchdog Sergey Dankvert said on Wednesday that since the decree to destroy prohibited items was signed the attempts to bring them into Russia had instantly dwindled by 90%.

In the meantime, by last Wednesday the website collected 200,000 signatures over just one week in protest against the elimination of foods. The director of the Political Studies Institute, Sergey Markov, has called for providing solid arguments for the public at large to realize the products under sanctions should be eliminated.

"The embargoed foods are brought into Russia illegally. The accompanying documents are forgeries. Thorough examination will be required whether these products are good enough for food and can be sent to homes for the aged or to orphanages. That’s a rather costly procedure. Tens of tonnes of food are involved," Markov told TASS.

"The embargoed products arriving in Russia create a favorable environment for corruption. If these foods are not destroyed, corrupt officials will be just stealing them. Auctioning the items would be useless. There exist well-oiled shadow patterns devised by those who bring in illegal products and bidders who buy these at auctions for next to nothing. By virtue of these reasons the decision was made to eliminate illegal foods," Markov explained.

A member of the Civic Chamber, Dmitry Chugunov, believes that "domestic farm producers will never be able to achieve positive results unless Russia manages to shrug off its dependence on food import."

"The aim of the measures being taken to destroy embargoed foods is to crack down on the grey retail market in Russia. The government sees no other means of wiping out illegal farm produce supply patterns," the president of the National Strategy Institute, Mikhail Remizov told TASS.

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