Russian Authorities Lose Common Sense, Make People Starve
527 views   /  1 Sep 2015
The new initiative of the Russian government to burn imported food as part of retaliatory sanctions against the EU has caused public anger among Russians, who still remember the famine years of the World War II.
By Anastasia Fistashka
There is a widespread saying in Russia: “Throwing away food is a sin.” Most parents and grandparents teach kids to finish their food and only reluctantly throw away expired products, remembering the hard days of the WWII famine.
This year, Russia marked the 70th anniversary of the Victory in the World War II and commemorated the heroes who sacrificed their lives and went through various hardships to protect their country.
One of the most brutal episodes of the war was the two-and-a-half year siege of the city of Leningrad, which claimed the lives of millions of soldiers and civilians, most of whom died from cold and starvation. During November 1941 – February 1942, each Leningrad resident received only 125 grams of bread a day, half of which contained sawdust and other inedible additives. Many people died right on the streets; horrific cases of cannibalism were reported.
In this regard, the idea of destroying food – the initiative implemented by the Russian authorities as a part of the recently imposed food embargo against European countries – seems to surpass any possible boundaries of morality and common sense. How can the government – that declares the day of the WWII victory a sacred date – burn food which could be given to veterans, pensioners, large families and other people in need?
The decree “On Certain Special Economic Measures to Ensure the Security of the Russian Federation” was signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin on August 6, 2015. According to the document, food from Europe, including meat, dairy products, fruits and vegetables, is to be burned on the Russian border only because it falls under the list of the Russian sanctions against the West.
The new initiative caused widespread resentment among the Russian population. Nearly 400,000 people signed a petition on the online platform for social change Change.org calling on the country’s authorities to stop the destructive practice and adopt a new law allowing to donate the imported goods to the populations in need instead of being destroyed.
However, despite the widespread social opposition, the barbarian activities are still going on. According to Rosselkhoznadzor [Russia’s agriculture watchdog], Russia has been destroying about 150 tons (!!) of imported goods every day, while 16 percent of Russian residents still live below the poverty line and struggle to make both ends meet.
Russian officials try to justify their actions, saying that the illegally imported food “can be potentially dangerous for human health” and that a corresponding check-up of their quality would be a “very expensive” procedure. However, such excuses look ridiculous when taking into account the amounts of money (millions of rubles) the government spends on their destruction.
“This is humiliation and mockery of our own people!!! People did not create this situation with the sanctions and should not tolerate such a humiliation,” Yurij Kononov from the city of Velikiy Novgorod wrote on Change.org.
“This is a sin to destroy products when the population counts rubles and kopecks, cannot afford to buy food, [when] there are so many in need […],” echoed Nina Chesnikh from Novosibirsk.
The Russian authorities went so far that they organized a “hot line” to receive information on the import of illegal products, expecting that the starving population will report on food they find and silently watch it being burnt. But the measure had the opposite effect: it triggered further indignation among Russians and made hundreds of thousands of people take part in the online social protest.
The views and opinions contained in this article are those of the author. They do not necessarily represent the views of Russian Accent.
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