Russia Further Specifies Sanctions, Prepares to Protect Population
August 8, 2014 • 10:45AM

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev made the official announcement of the implementation of Russia's counter-sanctions to "on applying certain special Economic Measures to Ensure the Security of the Russian Federation" Thursday, in a televised address.

Starting today, he said, "Russia has completely banned the importation of beef, pork, fruit and vegetables, poultry, fish, cheese, milk and dairy products from the European Union, the United States, Australia, Canada and the Kingdom of Norway." The sanctions are to last for 12 months, barring a change of heart in the West.

Medvedev added that "any attempts to obtain speculative profits from this situation will be stopped and held accountable." He also referenced the Food Security Doctrine that was approved in 2010, as having led to considerable progress: "For example, grain, sugar, vegetable oil and potato production volumes now exceed the threshold levels being stipulated by the Doctrine. The same is true of poultry, and, in principle, pork." "Where we are lagging behind is in certain kinds of meat and milk."

The Prime Minister noted that Russia would be working with trade partners to fill the gap. The two areas that have been mentioned in the Russian press are South America, and Central Asia.

According to a wire in Russia Today, "Russia's Import Ban Means Big Business for Latin America." There will be an 8 percent gap in imports caused by the cutoff, which the Russians see being filled in part by meat and dairy products from Ecuador, Chile, and Uruguay. On Aug. 6 these three countries confirmed they are ready to start supplying Moscow, and there will soon be meetings with Brazil and Australia.

During his visit to South America for the BRICS, President Putin had concluded a major beef deal with the President of Uruguay. Brazil is also expected to increase its meat exports; according to Reuters, around 90 new meat plants in Brazil were approved to export beef, chicken, and pork to Russia this week.

As reported in Itar-Tass, Brazil poultry farms quite easily can meet the demand for chicken on the Russian market in connection with the Russian decision to halt agriculture imports from some countries, Brazilian Animal Protein Association President Francisco Turra said Aug. 6.

The Brazilian capacities allow supplying additional 150,000 tonnes of chicken to Russia to fully make up for the U.S. quota. The 150,000 tonnes may be Brazilian, Turra said.

Brazil supplied 60,000 tonnes of chicken to Russia last year, and the South American country have exported a total of more than 300,000 tonnes to Russia, the association president said.

Air Travel

The second part of Medvedev's address focussed on the question of air travel. The only specific measure he announced was the "suspension of Ukrainian airlines' transit flights through Russian airspace" to Azerbaijan, Georgia, Armenia, and Turkey.

Medvedev also said the government was considering a number of other measures, including an airspace ban against European and U.S. airlines that fly over Russian airspace to Eastern Asia; changing Russian airspace entry and exit points; revising the rules of using the trans-Siberian routes; and revoking additional rights issued by Russian air authorities beyond previous agreements. These measures could be implemented separately or together.

A Defense Economy

The Prime Minister concluded by saying that protective measures were also being considered for other areas of the economy, such as the aircraft, shipbuilding and auto industries.

In effect, what the government is doing is moving systematically to secure the actual physical requirements for its population, and for its defense against the belligerent intentions of the West. Its resources in this regard include the BRICS and South America, and measures have clearly been under discussion for some time. The time for panicking about "money" and the "markets" is coming to an end.