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 Russian tourists buy up artisanal cheeses in Europe's airports, - The New York Times

Some Russians miss their Australian rib-eye, others their Norwegian salmon, still others their Italian pasta, but it’s cheese that most yearn for. Its absence from the dinner table is a singular symbol of the new time — the time of Russia’s war with the West.

Censor.NET reports citing the article by Masha Gessen in The New York Times.

Right across from Gate 21 in Heathrow's Terminal 4 - the gate from which Aeroflot's London-Moscow flight most often departs - sits the small shop of the Caviar House & Prunier Seafood Bar. One of its glass refrigerators houses a fine selection of artisanal cheeses. The shop also sells fish and, yes, caviar, but it's the cheese refrigerator that Moscow-bound passengers raid several times a day, making their last-minute purchases. You can't buy this stuff in Russia anymore.

In August it will be a year since Russia introduced a ban on the import of certain food products from the European Union and other countries that had introduced economic sanctions against Russia following its invasion of Ukraine. Like the biblical pharaoh's unimaginative magicians, who responded to the plagues inflicted by the Jews' god by visiting the same disasters on Egypt's own people - also turning fresh water to blood and covering the ground with frogs - so Vladimir V. Putin responded to the hardships coming from the West by creating more hardship.

Read more: Sanctions is a direct response to the choices made by the Kremlin, Nuland says

Of course, a country of millions of resourceful cheese-loving citizens and hundreds of thousands of corrupt officials has found ways around the ban. The countersanctions make an exception for lactose-free products, and large amounts of contraband cheese have apparently been brought into Russia with a "lactose free" label slapped on. Other shipments of cheese (and shrimp and salmon) have been labeled as originating in Belarus, a landlocked former Soviet republic just to the west of Russia. According to some accounts, enough contraband cheese has consistently found its way into the country to keep a number of Italian restaurants afloat - though many others have had to close.

Now Russia is poised to shut at least some of the loopholes. On June 24 Mr. Putin signed an order extending Russia's countersanctions against European Union goods for a year. The Russian ministry of agriculture asked the government to revise the list of banned products; if the proposal is accepted, it will become much harder to label cheese as "lactose free." The ministry has also asked that chocolate and coffee imports be forbidden. That prospect brings back memories of bland Soviet sweets and a chicory powder that was sold in a metal jar labeled "coffee drink." Time for Caviar House at Heathrow to start stocking coffee and chocolate, for Russians' next bout of one-stop counter-countersanctions shopping.

Read more: Russian bankers dismiss their employees in London due to sanctions

 
 
 
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