Close your eyes and imagine that the year is 2015, you are living in a country that is experiencing a pretty rough time in the global economy. Your currency is losing value, your country’s imports and exports are falling, and you are worried about just being able to put food on the table. Now, your government has announced a far reaching food ban, meaning that produce imported from other countries is not allowed to be imported or sold. And if it is found, it will be promptly taken to a landfill, garbage dump, or incinerator, and destroyed. Now open your eyes. You are in Russia!
Yes, it seems completely bizarre, but Russia has banned imports and sales of EU or American foodstuffs. And instead of distributing the banned food to the poor or sending it to a third world country for consumption, President Vladimir Putin has decided it is in his country’s best interest to just destroy the food. The Russian government has enacted said ban to combat the current economic and trade sanctions placed on the country for its aggressive military action in the region (cough cough UKRAINE).
The Russian media has eaten this story up (gotta love the food puns). But instead of bashing the story for its complete idiocy, they have actually supported the government’s decision to destroy the food. Russian media is basically a huge propaganda machine. They use emotional appeals to sway the public to support both them and the government. Saying things like “Support the Motherland, eat more Russian produce!” and “Support the ban or Putin will kidnap your family!” are actually immensely persuasive.
But there are some people who are actually more logical. Russia has suffered from food shortages in the past, and for people who can’t afford food right now, the new ban seems absurd. A petition with 285,000 signatures to end the ban is already being passed around (BBC). Calling attention to the fact that feeding the poor or sending the food abroad is much more logical than just get rid of it, these anti-ban supporters are using a logical appeal to reach their audience. But before you sign the petition, just remember, Putin is always watching 🙂
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