In response to Western sanctions, in August 2014 Russia introduced an embargo on meat, dairy, fruits, and vegetables from the EU, Norway, Australia, Canada, and the United States. The ban seriously affected not only the producer states but also Russian distributors and consumers. The embargo especially impacted Russia’s northwestern border regions: Murmansk, Karelia, St. Petersburg, Pskov, and Kaliningrad, areas that are dependent for geographic reasons on EU products.
This memo assesses the embargo’s impact on Russian distributors and consumers in these regions. First, it considers the impact of sanctions on regional consumer markets. Second, it examines the influence of the food embargo on cross-border entrepreneurial activity, focusing on shuttle traders and international cargo carriers. Finally, it considers the ways cross-border entrepreneurs have tried to adjust to the changing circumstances.