Russia is Importing Banned Food Products By Lying About Them

Illustration for article titled Russia is Importing Banned Food Products By Lying About Them

Did you know the world's finest parmesan cheese actually comes from Belarus? It must be true! There's a hastily slapped-on "Made in Belarus" sticker! Well, it's not "true" true, in the sense that it's a complete fucking lie. But it's true enough for Russian officials, apparently.


It turns out that Russia's unbelievably stupid Western nation* food import ban isn't quite as ironclad as they'd like to claim. Enterprising businesspersons in Belarus have been buying products from the subjects of Russia's hissy fit (parmesan from Italy, and, it would appear, salmon from Norway), hastily slapping a "made in Belarus" sticker on them, then shipping them across the border to Putin's Paradise. The cheese is even referred to jokingly as "Parmigiano-Belarussiano."

Belarus, which in general is basically Russia's kid brother desperately hoping their elder sibling will take a break from its journalistic suppression and virulent racism to play catch with them, makes a convenient partner in this: because of the country's customs agreement with Russia, their goods don't even get inspected. Move along, nothing to see here, these aren't the cheeses you're looking for.


Granted, this still isn't great for Russia — introducing more middlemen into the equation ultimately means Russian consumers will have to pay more. The original purveyors of the products (the intended target of Poot-Poot's temper tantrum) still get to sell their products, and the middlemen make a tidy profit, so the ban winds up only hurting Russia. But it's still kind of hilarious to watch the blatant hypocrisy of Russian officials saying "da, this is totally fine, we are sure this cheese is Belarussian, all hail Poot-Poot" and pretending like we can't tell this whole act is bullshit. The fact that Russian officials seem OK with this badly-executed sleight of hand is basically a tacit acknowledgement that the import ban was a horrendously stupid, self-destructive idea.

Have fun with that, Russia. The rest of the world is laughing at you.

* Defined as "any country that appears to take issue with their repeated human rights violations."

Image via Dream79/Shutterstock.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter



My favorite Russian cheese is a nice Tsarmigiano-Romanov blend. Unfortunately, they don't make it any more.