Russian State Duma proposes donating banned food to people in need

Russian State Duma proposes donating banned food to people in need

A group of deputies from the Communist Party has sent a bill which to the State Duma, proposing to confiscate banned food and products and donate them to people in need, as well as send them as humanitarian aid to other countries, the lower house of the Russian parliament said.

The parliamentarians reminded that the destruction of banned products, raw materials and food produced in the US, EU, Canada, Australia and Norway began on August 6.

The bill provides for these products to be "subjected to seizure by the Russian Federation." They will be directed to the provision of "free aid to low-income, socially disadvantaged, victims of natural disasters and other emergency groups, to other persons who find themselves in situations that require financial assistance."

In addition, they propose sending direct withdrawn products as "humanitarian aid to foreign countries, federal and municipal entities, international and foreign institutions, individuals who are residents of foreign states, stateless persons, refugees, internally displaced persons, victims of war, terrorist acts, natural disasters and other emergencies," TASS cited the bill as saying.

Academician and member of the RANEPA Academic Council, Doctor Elmira Krylatyh, and a research fellow at the center for agrarian and food policy at RANEPA, Vasily Uzun, told Vestnik Kavkaza that they welcome the initiative of the Communist Party, but they question the possibility of its implementation.

"It's impossible to find an idea worse than the destruction of banned products. After all, it is necessary to punish those who deliver it. And now we destroy food that can be rationally used," Elmira Krylatyh said.

"I think it's a little weird to use it in other countries. And to use it in the homeland for peaceful purposes to support people seems correct to me," the expert said. "But I'm afraid that the bill will not be approved or include limitations," Elmira Krylatyh suggested.

"I think that this is a reasonable solution. At least, it's much better than destroying the products. In the context of the increase in the population living below the poverty line, and while there are so many hungry people, at least, it is not economically justified to burn high-quality products," Vasily Uzun noted.

Uzun is skeptical about the possibility of adopting this law. "Anything can prevent it. For example, there are people who are interested in these products not being imported. There is a business which would like to get rid of the competitors and remove these products from the market. So if banned products are sent in the form of humanitarian assistance to Donbass or Africa, it does not hurt our market, but if it will be implemented in Russia, the original goal, which is to remove cheap and quality products of competitors from the Russian market, will not be achieved," the research fellow at the center for agrarian and food policy at RANEPA said.

"The initiative of the Communist Party is illegal because all countries have the practice of destroying products which are either counterfeit or smuggled. In our case, banned products are both of those. Therefore, it's illegal to donate it to the people in need," the director of the Center for Political Information, Alexei Mukhin, explained.

"The Communists have put forward this bill exclusively for electoral purposes. But they conceal this fact from the voters, which puts them in a very awkward position, because they are demanding an impossible thing, but expose it as a political demand," the expert stressed.