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Russian Grocery Shelves Increasingly Empty

Russian Grocery Shelves Increasingly Empty

London Telegraph
October 17, 2008

For a generation of Russians who queued daily in the snow for the most basic of staples, the symbolism of a bare supermarket shelf is so powerful that it could potentially destroy the reputation of Vladimir Putin, the prime minister, as saviour of the world’s largest country.

The shortages are not yet widespread. Even so, goods have begun to vanish from dozens of Moscow supermarkets over the past fortnight.

At a branch of the supermarket chain Samokhval in southwestern Moscow, a handful of shoppers pushed their trolleys through empty rows of shelves that once groaned under the weight of imported wares.

The deep freezes hummed, although there was nothing to freeze. Only a row of baked beans, a few jars of olives and sealed cupboards filled with vodka and cheap wine interrupted the void.

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