Russia and sanctions: Then just caramel popcorn

Status: 15.06.2022 12:41

Russia is dealing with economic sanctions in its own way. Imports are organized through third countries and celebrities drum on Russian products on television. One of the faces of the campaign is a former spy.

Author: Martha Wilczynski, ARD Studio Moscow

Anton Borissow, the host of the state television Rossiya 24, wants to know what happened from his colleague Marie Butina, who is slowly massaging her temples with her eyes closed. “You know,” he replies, “of all these hostile sanctions, my head hurts. And it hurts at my heart, too.”

Marta Wilczynská

On the other hand, he has something, Borisov replies. The tablet is completely “made in Russia” because, according to Borisov, “raw materials are also from us”.

This works if necessary

Thus begins the first episode of the recently re-launched documentary series “Sdelano w Rossii” – “Made in Russia”. Butina and Borissow will show in the next 30 minutes what the domestic medical technology and pharmaceutical industries have to offer. With the clear message that, if necessary, you can do without everything else – also thanks to some domestic producers who have become independent on imports.

In an interview with a pharmaceutical entrepreneur, the presenter states that the lion’s share of substances is currently imported from India, China and Europe, and then asks rhetorically: “And although there is no shortage of drugs in Russia and all supplies continue, so always? “

Supply chain problems

The sanctions imposed on many countries by Russia over the Russian invasion of Ukraine do not affect drugs, but do affect supply chains, economics expert Pavel Lissovsky, who specializes in the pharmaceutical industry, explains on Russian television.

You can import drugs, but how do you do it? Truck transport with Russian license plates is prohibited in the EU. And Belarus has introduced a transport ban for vehicles with a European license plate. Thus, the drug can no longer be delivered by transport, for example from Warsaw to Moscow. Yes, they can drive, yes, they can still travel around Finland somehow. But you understand that it dramatically complicates the entire supply chain.

This also entails costs that not everyone is willing to pay, neither on the part of the producers nor on the part of Russian customers. So if certain drugs disappear from Russia in the future, explains economic expert Lisovky, there are no direct sanctions, “but a simple, banal, capitalist model: no one wants to sell at a loss.”

Even though most Western companies’ shops in Russia are closed – there are still ways to get goods or spare parts.

Image: AFP

Copyright is becoming secondary

However, where a shortage could arise, Russia relies on creative solutions. At the beginning of May, the Ministry of Industry and Trade approved a list of goods for which parallel imports are permitted, ie imports through third countries – without the consent of the copyright holder. In this particular case: companies that have since withdrawn from Russia.

Car parts, kitchen appliances and detergents from well-known Western brands will therefore continue to be available in Russia in the future – the only question left is: at what price and whether Russian consumers will still be able to pay it.

Ambassador with the past

That’s why it’s important to focus on local products. And Maria Butina helps with that, not only as a moderator of the “Made in Russia” program.

The 34-year-old, who became nationally known for serving in the United States in 2018 for illegally acting agents before being deported, is now something of a national brand ambassador. Whether it presents a new Russian smartphone as an alternative to Apple or a fashion collection with Putin’s slogan – it is always clear to Butin: “Made in Russia” is better than anything else. This also applies to the cinema. Not just for movies:

“It’s caramel popcorn,” Butina explains, “I love it more than anything. And you know you can’t find one in American theaters? Just salted. In a slack bag.”

“Made in Russia” – economic (in) dependence of Russia

Martha Wilczynski, ARD Moscow, 15.6.2022 · 10:10 Uhr

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