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Russia to Tax All Sugary Junk Food, Starving Millions of Single Men

A document originating from Prime Minister Medvedev orders the preparation of new taxes on unhealthy products, such as those with high levels of fat and sugar

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This post first appeared on Russia Insider


The Moscow Times is reporting, citing Russian newspaper Vedomosti, that the Russian government has come up with a new scheme for increasing its flagging revenues in the wake of the economic crisis - taxing junk food. 

The new junk food tax is expected to raise the prices of all soft drinks, potato chips, palm oil, electronic cigarettes, and may impact all foods with high levels of fat and sugar. 

Apparently the tax has the support of both President Vladimir Putin as well as Prime Minister Medvedev.

A representative of the economic ministry said they had already received instructions, and that the ministry would present its "suggestions and calculations" on the new tax within a few weeks.

'The Real Thing' may soon be prohibitively expensive
'The Real Thing' may soon be prohibitively expensive

Of course, Russia is not the first to come up with this idea. Similar taxes have been imposed in parts of the United States, such as New York City, and various other countries. 

First of all, does Russia really need to be raising taxes on any food items (excepting cigarettes, which are not food) when inflation is already raising prices of most things at the grocery store? Granted, it is nothing like the inflation in Ukraine (which I have seen firsthand) but it is starting to become noticeable. I have noticed that a bar of chocolate which a few months ago was 80 rubles is now 100. A loaf of bread which was 50 rubles, is now 60 or 65. 

And it is especially a shame because a good variety of high quality chocolate is produced in Russia - real chocolate with 70% or more cocoa, full of cancer-fighting anti-oxidants -- not Hershey's corn syrup and soy-laced crap which has a virtual monopoly on US shelves. Russian groceries also usually have a fine assortment of locally produced cakes, cookies, and pastries. 

I can say this will come as a hard blow to the thousands if not millions of single men in Russia - especially expats - who, like me, subsist largely on sodas, chocolate, and starchy snacks with the occasional meal out because we have neither the time, patience, nor skill to prepare good wholesome healthy meals in the kitchen every day. 

Most of my attempts in the past to cook something substantial have ended up something like this:

It is blatant discrimination. And male famine may result -- something Russia can ill afford when it is just keeping its head above water demographically. Putin and Medvedev are making a huge mistake. I can only hope they will realize the ill effects of this policy before it is too late.

Otherwise, the demands of survival may compel many single males to marry themselves a good Russian girl who knows how to cook wholesome meals (they all do): 

On second thought...coming home to this might not have such a negative effect on demographics.

I'm telling you, Putin knows what he's doing. 


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