Staunton, September 20 – When Vladimir Putin ordered the destruction of sanctioned products five years ago in the name of promoting import substitution, a majority of Russians supported that policy; but today, in the face of mounting economic problems. 55 percent do not, according to a new Public Opinion Foundation poll.
Fewer than a third – just 30 percent – support destroying such products, while 37 percent say they should be distributed to the needy. Only nine percent suggest that these products should be put on sale for anyone who can afford them (ng.ru/economics/2020-09-20/2_7968_economics.html).
One explanation for this shift is that Russians are paying less attention to the policy of destroying contraband imports than they were. In 2015, 53 percent knew about the program; now, 41 percent say they know nothing about it, compared to only 15 percent who gave that answer five years ago.
But Putin’s program has been massive: Over the last five years, Russian officials destroyed some 36,000 tons of banned imports; and during the first seven months of this year ago, they burned or buried 1,890 tons of this contraband, Nezavisimaya gazeta continues.
Many Russians both then and now view foreign products as being of higher quality than domestically produced ones and have doubts as to whether the pursuit of import substitution, something Putin has made a centerpiece of his policies, is necessary or even possible. Most – 81 percent now – say they don’t make purchases on the basis of the national origin of products.