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Western food ban in Russia leaves bad aftertaste

Saturday, August 09, 2014 - 01:37

The owner of a popular Moscow restaurant worries about food prices and shortages following a Russian ban on Western food imports. Mana Rabiee reports.

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Among the cafes and restaurants of central Moscow, "Les Enfants du Paradis" stands out. It's popular with the city's music and art crowd, who come for the eclectic European food. Pizza, of course, but cutlets and prosciutto too. But all that variety is about to go away. That's because Russia placed a one-year ban on all meat, fish, dairy, fruits and vegetables, from the U.S. and much of Europe. Retaliation, for Western sanctions on Russia over its actions in Ukraine. But owner Alexi Paperny thinks it's the Russian consumer who will pay ultimately pay. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) "DETI RAIKA" RESTAURANT OWNER ALEXEI PAPERNY, SAYING: "My congratulations to everyone. Now we have to buy food products at higher prices, to sell them at higher prices. People don't have money to buy it. I don't know. We will try to do our best to survive. We've been through bad times before." The ban impacts well over $9 billion in imports. Producing countries could feel the pinch. Russia is by far the biggest consumer of E.U. fruits and vegetables. The second biggest buyer of U.S. poultry. And a major global consumer of fish. Still, as economic policy, the ban doesn't make sense to this restauranteur. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) "DETI RAIKA" RESTAURANT OWNER ALEXEI PAPERNY, SAYING: "What's happening now is rather strange. It is Russian sanctions against Russia, something like this." Russians have relished imported foods since the fall of the Soviet Union. But with inflation already rising, and the Russian ruble falling, the ban could leave a sour aftertaste for these diners.

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Western food ban in Russia leaves bad aftertaste

Saturday, August 09, 2014 - 01:37