World’s Largest Country, Russia, Bans GMO Food Crops

Victories are to be celebrated and for the future of healthy life on our planet we all can celebrate a beautiful victory. The world’s largest nation, the Russian Federation, whose landmass spans Eurasia from the Baltic and Ukraine on the west to Vladivostock and the Pacific on her east, has formally declared all commercial planting of Genetically Modified Organisms, GMOs, to be prohibited.
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    The issue has been subject of a heated debate for some months inside Russia. In February 2014, just days prior to the US-orchestrated coup d’etat in Ukraine, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev created a national research project to obtain scientific information so the Government and Duma might make a decision on GMOs in Russia. Now a definitive decision has been made, and it goes against Monsanto and the US-led GMO cartel. We can say Russia’s crisis has concentrated minds on the essentials of life.

    Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dorkovich told an international biotechnology conference in Kirov September 18, “As far as genetically-modified organisms are concerned, we have made the decision not to use any GMO in food productions.”

    Last year the Duma or parliament voted to make tough GMO labeling laws as a first step to the new ban in order to inform consumers of presence of GMO in various foods they buy. That was before US and EU sanctions led to Russian counter-sanctions against EU imports of agriculture products. In August 2014, the Russian government announced its bans on import from the EU and several other countries of meat, fish, dairy products, fruit and vegetables as a response to the sanctions. It produced surprising results. Since the imposition of tough Russian food import bans, Russian agriculture has undergone a spectacular rebirth.

    Russian supermarkets from Rostov on Don to Sochi to Moscow today feature overwhelmingly Russian products, domestically grown. Russians I spoke with during a visit this August to the Rostov region told me they realized that the taste of Russian food such as tomatoes was far superior to that of imported food that often is artificially colored and treated with chemical preservatives that it holds on the shelf, looking fresh. Following the tumultuous collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990’s the corrupt Yeltsin government opened the doors for western agribusiness giants like Kraft, Nestle, Unilever to fill Russian stores with their agribusiness industrialized food products.

    Rich organic soils

    The decision to build up domestic Russian food production is a huge one. Russia today has some of the richest most fertile agriculture soil in the world. Because during the Cold War economic restraints dictated that products of the chemical industry were dedicated to national defense needs, the fertile Russian soil has not been subjected to decades of destruction from chemical fertilizers or crop spraying as the soils in much of the west. Now this becomes a blessing in disguise, as EU and North American farmers struggle with the destructive effects of chemicals in their soils that have largely destroyed essential micro-organisms. Rich agriculture soils take years to create and can be destroyed in no time. Where the climate is moist and warm, it takes thousands of years to form just a few centimeters of soil. Cold dry climates need far longer.

    Russia encompasses one of only two soil belts in the world known as “Chernozem belts.” It runs from Southern Russia into Siberia across Kursk, Lipetsk, Tambov and Voronezh Oblasts. Chernozem, Russian for black soil, are black-colored soils with a high percentage of humus, phosphoric acids, phosphorus and ammonia. Chernozem is very fertile soil producing a high agricultural yield. The Russian Chernozem belt stretches from Siberia and southern Russia into northeast Ukraine, on into the Balkans along the Danube. The other major Chernozem belt is in the Manitoba prairies of Canada.

    Agribusiness vs. Food Security

    The Russian Agriculture Ministry has also formulated a Russian Food Security Doctrine that regularly issues targets for domestic agriculture and fisheries production. This month they promulgated a new target of 85% for domestic fish consumption.

    A project, financed by the Rockefeller Foundation, and developed by two professors at Harvard Business School, developed what they termed “agribusiness.” The Rockefeller idea was to do to world agriculture what Rockefellers had done to oil—create a top-down monopoly or cartel where a handful of corporations would control world food.

    It was one of the most effective and by far one of the most destructive of many Rockefeller initiatives. Under pressure from the World Trade Organization “free trade” in agriculture should take precedence over national laws for health and safety. Russia’s return to a far higher degree of food self-sufficiency is a major blow to that agribusiness globalization strategy. Its decision to ban GMO food crops flies in the face of that western agribusiness lobby.

    The EU sanctions are already creating major change inside Russia in terms of food production. One of the more fascinating examples is the fish production by the Russian Valaam Monastery on an archipelago in the northern portion of Lake Ladoga, in the Republic of Karelia, Russian Federation, near Finland.

    Russian Valaam Monastery on Lake Lagoda is booming trout and other food production as response to Russian food import decisions

    The Economic Director of the historic monastery has announced that they will triple fish production to 200 tons of trout a year from the present production of some 60-70 tons. “Previously, our fish had been on shop counters in St. Petersburg and Murmansk. But we did not supply it directly to retailers. We would supply it to the intermediaries who did the processing. Now we would like to attract investment to build fish-processing facilities. Then it would be possible to store it not two or three days but longer, and we would be able to supply it directly to retailers,” the responsible monk told Russian Izvestia. They also make cheese, including Italian varieties such as mozzarella, caciotta and ricotta. They had lost fish production Russian market share owing to cheaper industrially-produced Norwegian salmon in recent years. Norway is afected by Russia’s ban.

    Food production in Russia’s under-populated far-east region is also set to boom. On September 3 in Vladivostok at the first Eastern Economic Forum, Russia’s Agriculture Ministry announced the creation of a new $10 billion agriculture development fund together with China.

    A number of financial institutions, including Russia’s state-owned Sberbank, will participate in its operations. The aim of the fund is to stimulate the production of 10 million tons of grain and agricultural products annually, beginning 2020.

    Both China and Russia will cooperate on joint investment projects in the Russian territories of priority development, nine of which are located in Russia’s Far Eastern Federal District, the ministry added. The projects will include investments in agribusiness, grain growing, processing, storage and logistics as well as the construction and operation of agribusinessinfrastructure. In brief, major positive transformations are taking place in Russian food security and self-sufficiency.

    Russia’s new Homestead Law

    This July, taking a page out of American history, the Russian government announced it was drafting a Russian “Homestead Act.” The Russian government is finalizing a bill which will give an opportunity to every Russian citizen to obtain one hectare of land, or a maximum of five hectares for a family of five, in the Russian Far East for free.

    They can use the land to farm, to do forestry or simply build a home and live, so long as they use the land for the first five years. After, they own the land free if the plot has been used for activities not banned by Russian laws, reported TASS. In the case of non-use the land will be confiscated and revert back to the government. Foreigners will have no right to get the free land. The new land law, if passed in the Duma, will take effect in January, 2016.

    A recent poll suggests there is significant interest in the offer, with some 30 million mostly young Russians ready to “go east.” Following the economic devastation of Russia during the Yeltsin era of the 1990s, eastern regions suffered economic collapse and significant depopulation as people migrated to cities to survive.

    Into this broader context of recent developments, the definitive government ban on growing GMO crops in the Russian Federation adds a major new attraction. Russia stands to become one of the world’s most desired producers of natural, organic non-GMO-contaminated food for the world.

    Today, the once-great American agriculture has been de-humanized, industrialized, by giant agribusiness concerns, and contaminated by Monsanto and GMO plants along with its deadly herbicides containing toxic glyphosate. More than 80% of all US corn is GMO and almost 100% of USA soybeans. This is no small matter. Exports of GMO soybeans and corn are allowed unlabeled, by loopholes, into the European Union as well as into China. That means that most of the meat and even farmed fish that European and Chinese consumers eat contains indirect GMO crops and toxins. In light of all this it might make sense to treat Russia a little more politely in the future if we want to eat healthy food. They are doing what we should be doing, but don’t. Why?

    F. William Engdahl is strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a degree in politics from Princeton University and is a best-selling author on oil and geopolitics, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

    This article first appeared on New Eastern Outlook. 

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    • edgineer

      Hooray for Russia! Russia will find a way to starve it’s citizens, no matter what it takes. This, of course, is so Russians can sit around swilling vodka and complaining about how the world treats them.

    • Infamous_God

      Way to go Russia!

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    • Pogo333

      I neither stated, implied, nor inferred that Ukraine was a part of Russia. I was responding to the previous post’s claim that “Russia seems more like America than America nowadays” with regard to the “health, safety, and well being of the taxpayers and their fellow human beings”. The Russian behavior towards Ukraine stands in stark contrast to such a claim. And maybe you’re too insignificant to receive a formal notice… 😉

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    • hyperzombie

      Funny, Russia bans GMOs as news… Duh they don’t grow any GMOs anyway. This is like North Korea banning “All you can eat burrito night at the 7-11”

      • angela

        It also means GMO industrialized junk products too. And Monsanto keeps trying to push their crappy GMO seeds on other countries, and trying to bundle their products into trade agreements so countries don’t have a choice.

      • cliffcollins

        You missed the point! They are not going to allow the production of GMO’s period! Good governence and protection of their peoples. America only cares about money, not their people

        • hyperzombie

          No you missed the point. Russia does not grow any crops that are GMOed anyway. They grow wheat and barley mostly, and they are not modified. It would be like the USA banning Koala bears as house pets.

          • neroden

            The USA *does* ban Koala bears as house pets.

            • hyperzombie

              Well only some states do and it is stupid in the first place, because no one in there right mind would have a Koala bear as a pet. They stink something fierce, like to bite, have very sharp claws, are almost impossible to feed, and they are almost impossible to get. So banning them is just a waste of time.

            • lf

              koala bears are not banned in the US , they are protected in their country of origin and the export is regulated .. big difference , the point she’s trying to make is that because we can;t get them in the us there is no need to ban them…

              The Australian Koala Foundation says it’s illegal to keep a koala as a pet anywhere in the world. Not even Australians can own one. But there are some exceptions. Authorized zoos can keep koalas, and occasionally scientists can keep them.

          • bobdyan823

            you are a lackey of Monsanto the great ; may be paid or try to creep into the so called rotten honey comb. Amen.

      • Ze Khong
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    • Good, at least some countries and their “representatives” still actually care about the health, safety, and well being of the taxpayers and their fellow human beings. Russia seems more like America than America nowadays.

      • angela

        I agree!!

      • Pogo333

        The people of Ukraine disagree with you. Russia cares about European markets, not its people.

        • cliffcollins

          So why is it Ukraine has allowed Monsanto, Dupont and Cargill in to grow massive amounts of GMO products? And the land has been purchased for pennies on the dollar! This has been going on for a while! Kiev is a tool of the American empire, that’s why! The Oakland Institute has followed this story for a long time now!

          • hyperzombie

            There are no GMOs approved for the Ukraine.

            • cliffcollins

              Read the wording in the IMF agreement on the loan that Ukraine is getting for the Neo-Nazi regime/US CONTROLLED -imposed government. It spells it out in plain english! Nice try though.

          • Pogo333

            My point is that Russia is still behaving like Russia of old. Illegally seizing Crimea to secure ports is typical old Russia. Using proxies and lies to wage war against Ukraine is typical old Russia. Supporting a tyrannical regime in Syria is old Russia. They are behaving in the same self-serving manner they always have. Their stance on GMOs has nothing to do with protecting their people and everything to do with posturing for their oil and natural gas buyers – western Europe.

            The Oakland Institute is right about some of the land sales, except that most of the purchasing has been done by Ukrainian people and interests. Further, the Ukrainian economy is in shambles. Western Europe and the US are doing nothing to help them. Their agriculture is suffering immensely due to the war with Russia and Russian embargoes on critical oil and natural gas to Ukraine. Ukraine is being forced to convert food land to biofuel production, and the expertise of those large multinational companies will be vital to the success of the fledgling biofuels industry there. And with winter coming and very little heating fuel the Ukrainian people are in a world of hurt. But that kindly and caring Russian government has no intention of lifting the embargo or returning Crimea with its energy reserves and access ports to Ukraine. Same old Russia. The Oakland Institute, for all the good it does do, has a narrow agenda and tends to miss the forest for the trees as a result.

            • John Perk

              and WE HERE in the States behave like what?I,ll let you come up with the WORD.

              FABRICATING LIES TO GO murder Million son the other side of the Planets,at least Russia has always stick around its borders.

              • Pogo333

                “Murder millions”? I would be intrigued to see where you came up with those numbers. Perhaps you are confusing our global activities with Russia’s purge (the “Great Terror”) of the 1930s to late 40s when an estimated 20-50 million Russians died at the hands of their own government. The Nazis didn’t do nearly as much damage as the Russians’ own government did.

                So, are you suggesting that we should ignore or accept Russia’s aggression because we have also exhibited aggression? What is your point, other than an obvious red herring argument? Can you name a group of people in human history that has NOT displayed unjustified aggression against some other group? And since it is so prevalent, based on your form of argument (the absurd argument of “we did it too!”), we apparently should forgive or ignore every other unjustified aggression. I’m sure glad you weren’t president during the Cuban missile crisis.

                The reason Russia’s aggression is limited chiefly to nearby nations is that they lack sufficient warm-water ports to amass the navy necessary to exert any significant power by sea. The last time they made such an effort, the Japanese beat them bloody in short order (remember the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905?). That’s one of the reasons Crimea is so important – for the Black Sea Fleet. But even then, the Black Sea Fleet can be easily bottled up, so they will need to continue to maintain other fleets (e., the Pacific Fleet in Vladivostok), none of which are very formidable. Their power is in land forces, and it is hard to exert that power in distant lands with no navy to deliver them. However, if they COULD deliver their forces with a powerful sea force, things would be much different.

                • Adam Wade

                  just give u 1 example! Illegal invasion of Iraq killed millions of innocent ppl there! Great job evil!

                • cliffcollins

                  The Black Sea Fleet was the “big prize” that the United Snakes was after only they got outsmarted again!! The Snakes have been playing this game since the end of World war II.
                  Try reading William Blum’s : America’s Deadliest Export: Democracy or better yet John Perkins : Confessions of an Economic Hitman on Youtube. The world knows what is really going on and the bought and paid for Western Media can’t cover up the FACTS no matter what they try. End of story troll.

                  • Pogo333

                    The Black Sea fleet is a shadow of even the smallest and most depauperate fleet the US can muster. If I have a fleet of yachts at a wide-open marina, why would I be coveting a rowboat trapped in a pond? You’re living in a conspiratorial and delusional world.

            • cliffcollins

              Russia did not illegally seize Crimea! The people of Crimea came to Russia after the US instigated the overthrow of the elected government. It was not the first time that Crimea had tried to secede from Ukraine and reunify with Russia. Educate yourself!


              This is one of many articles available on what really happened in Ukraine. Or better yet, talk to the people of Crimea and they will tell you why they wanted out of Ukraine. The proof is in the pudding!

              • Pogo333

                What a surprise that the people of Crimea would vote to join Russia with Russian troops occupying the country and Russian warships parked off their coast. Give me a break. I know that Crimea has been pro-Russian for some time, but a 95% vote to secede from Ukraine is nonsensical and reminiscent of the old Soviet and modern Russian election results. I’m sure having armed Russian soldiers milling about had no influence on that outcome, right?

          • Pogo333

            It’s true that GE crops are grown in Ukraine, although that is not yet allowed. The seeds are likely being smuggled from China through Russia to Ukraine, similar to the illegal seed industry in northern India for some years. Perhaps the more interesting question is why these growers are so intent on getting and growing these GE crops. The answer is that they yield better and require fewer inputs than the conventional seed the growers have been using. And tied to those reduced inputs is lower use of highly toxic pesticides, which the Russian government seems determined to continue using and poisoning growers (and consumers). But that is okay in the name of good markets in Europe. Look into the Russian regulatory practices for pesticides and it becomes abundantly clear that the government doesn’t give a fig about the health and safety of growers or consumers.

            Simply put, GE crops work better than what the growers have had, which is why GE crop acreage grows worldwide, despite the hysterical voices of doom from the anti-GMO herd. Of course, they haven’t worked everywhere – no varieties/crops do – but on average, they have been exceedingly successful. Which is why growers use them.

            • Will Panos

              How do GE crops yield better? What fewer inputs? Why would conventional crops require more toxic pesticides?

              • Pogo333

                Will, the increased yield occurs in areas where insect pests are very difficult to control with insecticides, but where the GE trait (e.g., Bt delta-endotoxin) effectively controls that same pest. For example, in many parts of India the bollworm is a serious pest of cotton that is difficult to control with conventional insecticides due to widespread insecticide resistance in the pest. However, the use of Bt cotton has significantly reduced or even eliminated the need for the use of applied insecticides for the bollworm, and as a result the growers have experienced an increased yield because the bollworm is no longer taking as much of the crop. That’s why more than 90% of cotton growers in India have adopted GE Bt-cotton. It doesn’t hurt that they are using much, much less of the brutal organophosphates or pyrethroids.Much safer.

                In the US, cotton growers have not experienced much of a yield bump with Bt-cotton, but have generally experienced significant cost reductions because of the reduced need for insecticide applications. These insecticide reductions in the US are typically in pyrethroid insecticides. Again, teh situation is much safer for handlers and the environment with the Bt-cotton than previously.

    • MarkDonners

      The corporate slaveries of America and Canada export terrorism and misery.

    • GALT

      What a “novel” concept……..I wonder if Bernie is paying attention?