Russian Takes On Its Biggest Crime Problem Ever: Stinky Cheese

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Young activists are raiding Moscow supermarkets to make sure no one buys Western food products that have illegally made their way onto grocery shelves.
 

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Political corruption, invading the Ukraine, even accused murder of rivals: Russia ha a lot on its plate, crime-wise. So the country is in the midst of a huge crackdown on the most nefarious criminal of all – people who sell cheese illegally.

While Russia has expanded its crackdown on contraband foods imported from the EU and the U.S. from border controls to the entire country, some young activists have taken it upon themselves to rid the grocery stores of all the products that make way into the country despite the ban.

Vigilante activists from a group called “Eat Russian” – which reportedly receives funding from Kremlin – have recently raided supermarkets all around Moscow, looking for imported cheese, apples, poultry, pork and other Western products that violate the trade embargo.

Since forbidden delicacies – particularly dairy products from Europe – are still appearing on Russian grocery shelves, these young activists have made it their mission to look for these food items and slap a self-made sticker atop them, warning consumers from buying the smuggled goods.

The main idea behind this Kremlin-backed campaign is to implore citizens to buy Russian products.

Apparently, the vigilantes even put the stickers on Swiss cheese, though they were soon told that Switzerland isn’t subject to sanctions.

 

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“If this food has entered the country illegally, it means it hasn’t been inspected,” explained Yevgenia Smorchkova, the group’s founder. “How do we know that this food is of acceptable quality? It’s an information campaign.”

The “Eat Russian Products” campaign is apparently a project of “Piggies Against” – a group that raids supermarkets in search for expired products, in costumes. They are a part of large patriotic movement called “Nashi” which translates to “Our People” and are allegedly paid to post pro-Putin comments on social media.

 

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The ban on meat, poultry, fish, seafood, dairy products, fruit and vegetables was first announced in August 2014.

However, after renewing the sanctions for another year, Russian President Vladimir Putin recently signed a decree into law ordering all contraband food destroyed – or rather burned – on sight.

 

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“That means that if officials from the customs service, phytosanitary (agricultural product) control or Rospotrebnadzor (consumer rights) find sanctioned produce during an inspection of, for example, a retail distribution center, the food will be destroyed in accordance with general regulations,” said Vasily Itskov, a government representative.

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