Moscow asked to lift embargo on 'friendly' foreign firms

A woman in the cheese section of the Lenta hypermarket in Novosibirsk. © RIA Novosti
Russian officials have asked the government to allow some foreign companies, currently under embargo, back into the country’s market, claiming the businesses had become “hostages of the anti-Russia sanctions’ policy.”

The change has been proposed by a member of the State Duma committee for defense, Igor Zotov, and a member of the Presidential Council for Civic Society and Human Rights, Yana Lantratova, Russian daily Izvestia reported on Tuesday.

They sent a letter to Russia’s First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov, recommending putting together a list of foreign companies that oppose anti-Russian sanctions imposed by the US and EU last year. The initiative has been suggested by business leaders from Russia, Bulgaria, Hungary, and Montenegro “who are ready for economic association and to voice public support for Russia.”

“We find it reasonable and timely to step up efforts of Russian government organizations to support the businessmen who publicly call for lifting of the sanctions against Russia," Izvestia cited Zotov and Lantratova.

They also asked for Kremlin support for the International Association of Economic Partnership "European Union - Eurasian Union" project, which is meant to advance a common agenda in relations between the two leading associations of the continent.

According to their letter, “private companies and businesses which for a long time have supplied products to the Russian market and cooperated with Russian manufacturers had become hostages of the anti-Russia policy of the US and a number of EU countries.”

Business communities in Germany, Italy, Greece and other countries of the European Union have publicly expressed protest against the continuation of sanctions against Russia, according to the letter.

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Representatives of the Polish-Eurasian Economic Council, as well as businessmen from the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Hungary and Montenegro, joined the initiative.

Last year, Moscow imposed a one-year ban on agricultural produce, food and raw materials on countries that joined anti-Russian sanctions over the conflict in Ukraine. In June, Moscow extended the embargo for another year in response to EU’s extension of sanctions against Russia.