Putin Punishes the West by Punishing the Russian People

 

BuXShb7IQAEhEguVladimir Putin, the self-proclaimed savior and protector of the Russian people, wherever they may be, has decided to punish the West by banning imports of food from Europe, Australia, and North America. Russian propaganda is busy convincing the Russian people that foregoing German yogurt, Italian strawberries, and even Big Macs is a small price to pay for Russian pride and the protection of ethnic Russians in east Ukraine, Moldova, and anywhere else they may be from rabid and homicidal Nazi thugs.

Putin may know his politics and may carry the Russian people along with his trade war, but his grasp of economics is deficient, to say the least.

Currently Russian consumers spend some thirty percent of their food budgets on imports. Any trip to a Russian supermarket features displays of familiar food brands – DANONE, Nestle, Pepsi, Dr. Oetker, and so on. Russian consumers buy these goods because they are affordable, offer reliable quality, and they are safe. They do not buy to make sure that German, French, Italian and Greek farmers make money. They buy because they like these products.

As these products disappear from the shelves, Putin promises they will be replaced by Chinese, Venezuelan, and Cuban products that are just as good. Putin’s promise can’t be met. If these substitute products from “friendly” nations were just as good, they’d already be on the shelves. (I’d recommend Russian consumers to stay away from Chinese baby formula). Moreover, it will take a while to strike the deals and work out the supply chains before these “friendly” products reach the shelves. In the meantime, food prices rise and shortages appear. Putin would say: A small price to pay for the restoration of Russian empire. I do not know if Russian consumers will agree.

The Western news media is already tallying the billions of dollars of costs French farmers and American cattle raisers face. No one thinks of tallying the costs to the Russian consumers, which are probably well in excess of the losses of the food producers from the unfriendly nations.

The Russian Internet is not stupid. It is full of pictures of empty grocery stores from Soviet times.

(Photo source: link)

Members have made 13 comments.

  1. Profile photo of Valiuth Member

    Good old days are here again. Once again Russia and the West face off in international affairs and the Russian people get to wait in line for milk and meat. Soon Putin will issue a five year plan. To bad the Russian people seem to have been thoroughly bamboozled by Putin’s media.

    • #1
    • August 7, 2014 at 12:59 pm
  2. Profile photo of doc molloy Inactive

    Putin is punitive. The peasantry will pay as they always have in Russia. Putin their strong man.

    • #2
    • August 7, 2014 at 3:29 pm
  3. Profile photo of RushBabe49 Thatcher

    There are still more total Russians than there are total Russian Army or secret police. Now that the Russian people have had their taste of Western goods, I would not like to be in the Russian government when their subjects rise up against them, which Putin and his thugs are risking with this stupid move. The Western powers should be blanketing the Russian internet with leaflets regarding all the products that will be denied Russian consumers soon. Those Russian hackers are still Russian, and they eat too. What happens when THEY turn against their government?

    • #3
    • August 7, 2014 at 4:58 pm
  4. Profile photo of Paul Gregory Contributor
    Paul Gregory Post author

    Valiuth:

    Good old days are here again. Once again Russia and the West face off in international affairs and the Russian people get to wait in line for milk and meat. Soon Putin will issue a five year plan. To bad the Russian people seem to have been thoroughly bamboozled by Putin’s media.

    • #4
    • August 7, 2014 at 6:03 pm
  5. Profile photo of Paul Gregory Contributor
    Paul Gregory Post author

    Doc Molloy:
    Good pun on Putin i s punitive.
    Valiuth:

    Yes, the five year plans are just around the corner.

    Rushbabe49:

    We are making virtually no effort at countering Putin’s propaganda. We can’t blame Russians for falling for it.

    • #5
    • August 7, 2014 at 6:16 pm
  6. Profile photo of doc molloy Inactive

    Paul Gregory:

    Doc Molloy: Good pun on Putin i s punitive. Valiuth:

    Yes, the five year plans are just around the corner.

    Rushbabe49:

    We are making virtually no effort at countering Putin’s propaganda. We can’t blame Russians for falling for it.

     Thanks, but I wasn’t trying to be punny.. but vlad you liked it.

    • #6
    • August 7, 2014 at 6:46 pm
  7. Profile photo of PHCheese Member

    We are faced with our own propaganda here. Did anyone watch BHO African news conference yesterday. The media is so far up Barry’s but it makes me sick.

    • #7
    • August 7, 2014 at 7:41 pm
  8. Profile photo of Valiuth Member

    Paul Gregory:

    Doc Molloy: Good pun on Putin i s punitive. Valiuth:

    Yes, the five year plans are just around the corner.

    Rushbabe49:

    We are making virtually no effort at countering Putin’s propaganda. We can’t blame Russians for falling for it.

     Indeed we need to go back to Radio Free Europe. We have more than just Radio now as a possibility with the internet. 

    • #8
    • August 7, 2014 at 8:57 pm
  9. Profile photo of Doug Watt Member

    Comrade (115x186) (93x150)Ah the Motherland, Russia the Islam of Christianity. The thin veneer is Tolstoy, Chekov, Dostoevsky, and Tchaikovsky. Beneath the veneer is Lenin, Stalin, the Lubyanka, and Kolyma. Come Comrade it is time to sit in the Glorious Sauna of the Peoples Revolution.

    • #9
    • August 7, 2014 at 10:31 pm
  10. Profile photo of Randy Weivoda Thatcher

    Imagine this piece as being read by James Lileks doing a Russian accent.

    Dispatch from the Russian Minister of Groceries:

    The Russian people will proudly turn their backs on Western running dog breakfast cereals and enjoy Russian-made ones instead. Who needs Cap’n Crunch when you can eat Comrade Crunch, now with a picture of Czar – I mean President – Putin on each box. We spit on your Wheaties and Mini-Wheats and instead will enjoy Beeties and Mini-Beets. We no longer need your decadent Corn Flakes when we have our own Cabbage Flakes! Do the Russian people crave Raisin Bran? Nyet! Rutabaga Bran is our patriotic choice.

    • #10
    • August 8, 2014 at 4:52 am
  11. Profile photo of Paul Gregory Contributor
    Paul Gregory Post author

    Randy: Love your Rutabaga Bran — may prove not so far fetched.

    • #11
    • August 8, 2014 at 5:26 am
  12. Profile photo of Ross C Member

    I know a US family living in in western Kazakhstan near the border with Russia. They have said that living there is a exercise in surviving starvation. The find the local products inedible and have told me at times they have paid $25 for a small tub of black market US sour creme. Not that they love sour creme either. I reminded my wife that there is probably an army of jaded bureaucrats whose sole function is to make sure no attractive food makes it to the supermarket shelves.

    Anyway it sounds like in some places they are used to suffering.

    • #12
    • August 8, 2014 at 12:26 pm
  13. Profile photo of Ron1954 Inactive

    The people who cannot sell their goods also suffer. It’s not a one way trade.

    • #13
    • August 9, 2014 at 12:04 pm