Staunton, Mar. 18 – Many people, including the authors of these lines, thought that the widespread shortages of sugar in Russian markets was the result of a run on that product to make moonshine, but Russian analyst Boris Myshlyavtsev says that is not the case and that the shortages reflect panic buying as a result of broader fears about the future.
Instead, rising prices for sugar in Russia are “not connected with the real amount of sugar” available in the country, he says. Instead, “this is a social indicator, a measure of public anxiety” (newizv.ru/news/economy/18-03-2022/produkt-osoboy-vazhnosti-pochemu-v-rossii-nachalsya-defitsit-sahara).
Such fears, he continues, are neither irrational or stupid but reflect the historian experiences and memories of Russians. During the Leningrad blockade, those who had sugar survived; those who didn’t, did not. And when Russians have feared for the future, they have bought sugar, even when officials said there was no reason to.
That happened in 1916 and again in the late 1930s, Myshlyavtsev reminds. That it is happening again says something very serious about how Russians see the future, attitudes that are far more important than the rising prices for sugar and empty shelves in stores that have attracted comment suggest.