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The Kremlin Diet: Are Food Bans an Effective Foreign Policy Tool?

A basketful of banned goods, including chocolate, cheese, wine, produce, water and sour cream. (Photo: Giorgi Lomsadze)

The Kremlin believes that a carrot can be used as a stick when it comes to advancing its geopolitical agenda.
 
Imposing import bans on foreign food and drink – most recently a prohibition of Turkish fruits and vegetables – has become a go-to move in Russia’s foreign policy playbook. In recent years, Russia has barred a wide variety of products from a broad array of neighboring states – everything from Polish apples, Georgian wine and Moldovan fruit to Lithuanian dairy and Ukrainian candy – in an attempt to coerce former Soviet states into following the Kremlin’s lead. But a look at Moscow’s various food fights calls into question whether such embargoes are an effective way for Russia to advance its foreign policy goals.
 

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Giorgi Lomsadze is a freelance journalist based in Tbilisi. He is a frequent contributor to EurasiaNet.org's Tamada Tales blog.

The Kremlin Diet: Are Food Bans an Effective Foreign Policy Tool?

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