Sultan Khamzaev, a member of the Civic Chamber of the Russian Federation and chief executive of the project Sober Russia, proposed to ban Czech beer on Russian territory as a reaction to the expulsion of eighteen diplomats on Saturday.
In his opinion, such a measure will make Czech political groups realize that their statements and actions will have economic repercussions for the entire country. Russians, according to Khamzaev, will be able to live without a beverage, and the embargo will help reduce the alcohol consumption among the population.
“In Russia, people consume about eight billion liters of beer annually, including a certain percentage of Czech beer. We need to ban it and let them consume it there themselves,” Khamzaev asserted in an interview with the radio station Moscow Speaks.
A number of Russian politicians spoke out against the proposal. They consider the measure to be childish, inefficient, and potentially pernicious for Russia.
“I am always very suspicious of such initiatives. What will it lead to? What does beer and all these conflicts have to do with it?” said Andrey Panferov, First Deputy Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Novosibirsk Oblast.
“Time will pass and everything will fall into place. And the initiative about beer – well, if the public man does not like to drink Czech beer, let him not drink it,” he added.
“I do not know how to interpret such measures. This one is clearly inadequate; serious political decisions must be made in this situation. To limit beer is nothing but a mosquito bite, which only adds tension but does not solve the problem. In this case, it is worth sitting down at the negotiating table and resolving the issues that have arisen between our countries. These mutual attacks will not bring anything good to Russia, the Czech Republic, or the rest of the world,” Vera Ganzya, State Duma deputy, argued.
Russia is the second most important non-EU market for the Czech Republic in terms of agricultural trade after the UK. For a long time, in addition to beer, poppy seeds or hops have been exported there.
In 2020, the Czech Republic approximately doubled its exports of beer, hops, and Czech poppies to Russia compared to 2016.
Trade Representation of the Russian Federation in the Czech Republic reported in March that last year’s deliveries in value terms amounted to 812.8 million crowns against 374 million crowns in 2016.