Most Russians see food embargo as appropriate response to Western sanctions - poll

A growing number of Russians have noticed a change in food store merchandise under the impact of the food embargo enforced.

A growing number of Russians have noticed a change in food store merchandise under the impact of the food embargo enforced in August 2014, sociologists have said.

According to the Romir research holding, the percentage of Russians who have paid attention to the disappearance of some or many customary foods has grown from 21% in September 2014 to 43% now. Some 37% said only a few familiar brand names were gone, and 6% said they could not find most customary food products. The share of those who did not notice any change in brand names is down, from 79% in September 2014 to 58% now.

Thirty-nine percent of Russians regretted a decline in the quality of food over the same period. Fifty-two percent disagreed and said that quality had been unchanged, and 9% claimed an improvement.

The holding polled 1,500 respondents older than 18 in villages, towns and cities in all federal districts.

The alternation of merchandise was mostly mentioned by residents of big cities (60%) and well-to-do Russians (54%).

According to sociologists, 71% of respondents backed the food embargo one way or another as an appropriate response to the Western sanctions against Russia, and 21% raised objections.

Eleven percent of the food embargo opponents think that this embargo fosters corruption and criminal schemes which bring forbidden food to Russia, and 10% called the embargo harmful for average customers - prices are growing and quality is deteriorating.

As to the personal impact of the food embargo, 57% of respondents said they did not notice any, because they were not buying imported food and delicacies before. A third (35%) said that some of the customary brand names were gone but that they easily found a replacement.

Eight percent claimed substantial damage. Six percent of Russians found it difficult to substitute the missing brands, and two percent said they stopped eating some foods because they could not find a replacement.

Russia imposed the embargo on imports of agricultural products, raw materials and food from countries which had joined the anti-Russian sanctions on August 7, 2014. The ban applied to imports of beef, pork, fruit and vegetables, poultry, fish, cheese, milk and dairy products manufactured in EU member countries, the United States, Australia, Canada and Norway.

The food embargo was extended for one year on June 24, 2015, from August 6, 2015, till August 5, 2016.

The Russian authorities explained the food embargo via the EU and U.S. sanctions on a number of Russian banks providing loans to local farmers.

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