Friday, August 7, 2015

Food fright

Vlad Putin is afraid Russians might eat something foreign, but maybe he should fear looking foreign (or like a space alien), says Bloomberg View's Leonid Bershidsky;
More than 280,000 people -- an unusually large number for Russia -- have signed a petition asking the Kremlin to repeal the food destruction decree and hand over any confiscated food to the needy. "If something can simply be eaten, why destroy it?" the petition says.

Putin's government, however, is like a tank without a reverse gear. State television has eagerly covered the presidential decree and its implementation. The Vesti news program chose the title "Purifying Flames" for a report about the destruction of "dozens of tons" of European pork, and "Fondue, Belgorod style" for one about seven tons of cheese plowed into the ground with a tractor in the Belgorod region. 

Russians have seen a lot of strange things on state TV under Putin, but never before have they been treated to a public cheese execution.
 For an insight into the way Russia's leaders think, one could do worse than this speech at Hoover by the British historian Robert Service.

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