According to the report, reterioration of the quality of life in Russia is the result of a drop in income and is not related to the food embargo.
The authors of the report refer to polls evidencing that Russian citizens started saving on high-value foods (cheese, sausage, meat and poultry, fish, seafood and vegetables). Traditionally, people least of all save on bread and flour products as well as cereal and pasta. According to the report, sales of a number of food categories plunged in the period.
“All in all, this demonstrates a deterioration of people’s life quality. However, this deterioration may have been triggered by a decline in real incomes rather than the food embargo,” the report said.
In 2015, real disposable incomes and average wages in real terms in Russia dropped by 4% and 9.5%, respectively. This altered the structure of consumption in the country as the share of food products in the spending pattern surged to 38% while the share of non-foods went down. This seriously exceeds the levels typical for developed countries (10-20%) and even certain developing countries (17.8% in Brazil), though it is still below the level of many CIS countries, analysts said.
For incorporation of Crimea after the 2014 coup in Ukraine, Russia came under sanctions on the part of the United States and many European countries. The restrictive measures were soon intensified following Western and Ukrainian claims that Russia supported militias in self-proclaimed republics in Ukraine’s southeast and was involved in destabilization of Ukraine.
As countermeasures, Russia imposed on August 7, 2014 restrictions on food imports from the countries that had imposed anti-Russian sanctions: the US, the European Union, Canada, Australia and Norway.
Later, Russia extended its food embargo until August 2016 inclusive. The list of countries was also extended to include Albania, Montenegro, Iceland and Lichtenstein.