Ukraine war: a long queue at Russian supermarkets as Russia ran out of staple eggs

Russian citizens, amid rising inflation and increased import costs, are struggling to get their hands on a household staple: a carton of eggs.

The price for eggs has risen 42.4 percent since the start of the year, according to a report by Reuters, citing Moscow’s federal statistics service. Experts say that the spike in cost is an indirect result of the Western sanctions placed against Moscow since the start of the war in Ukraine, and it comes as support for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s February 24, 2022, invasion of Ukraine is falling among his citizens.

Videos on social media this week have shown Russians waiting in long lines to buy cartons of eggs from local stands instead of paying the marked-up prices at the supermarket.

In one such clip shared to X, formerly Twitter, which was also used in a Monday report by the Russian-language broadcaster Current Time TV, people stand in line at a small outdoor market amid a lightly snow-covered ground while bundled in winter coats and hats.

Another clip shared by the X user Jack Ryan showed people in a long line waiting to buy cartons of eggs from the back of a semi-truck trailer. According to Reuters, prices at Russian supermarkets can sometimes be more than double what the smaller markets are selling cartons of eggs for.

In the southern city of Belgorod, people waited in line at a small market to buy 10 eggs for 65 rubles ($0.72), compared to the supermarket price of 10 for 150 rubles ($1.67), according to the report.

Moscow resident Yelizaveta Shalayevskaya told Agence France-Presse (AFP) on Monday that she was “horrified” by the rising costs.

“What’s going on with the prices is a nightmare, and not just for eggs, but for everything,” she said.

Ilya Zarubin, a 21-year-old student, told AFP that she “used to buy eggs for 70 rubles at the shop, now it costs around 130-140.”

Marina Petrova, the chief executive officer of the Moscow-based firm Petrova Five Consulting, told Current Time TV that the rise in egg prices was caused by the rise in prices of poultry feed and veterinary products, an impact of the Western sanctions on goods imported into Russia.

The Russian Ministry of Economic Development announced on Wednesday that imports of eggs will be exempt from duty tax for the first six months of 2024 to boost shops that are running low on supplies. Imports are allowed to be sourced only from “friendly countries,” meaning those that have not imposed sanctions on Russia.

“The decision will help in the short term to balance the domestic market of eggs and ensure supply growth,” the ministry said, according to Reuters.

Putin has said that he is “surprised” by his citizens’ economic struggles and has maintained that Moscow’s economic sector is thriving despite being the world’s most sanctioned economy. Last month, however, annual inflation in Russia stood at 7.48 percent. For comparison, inflation is 3.1.

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