Now, Russia makes world's best cheese, thanks to Putin's sanctions war

File Photo Photograph:( Reuters )

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Nov 27, 2019, 09.48 PM (IST)

Russians aren't just making more cheese than ever before. They are also making the world's best cheese. Everyone loves cheese! But what do you do when war, politics and sanctions cut off the supply of your favourite cheese?

Well, a Russian military adventure by President Vladimir Putin has led to a cheese manufacturing boom.

A silent cheese revolution is taking place in Russia and it has been spurred by politics and war. When the Russian tanks rolled into Crimea in February 2014.

Vladimir Putin gained a geostrategic advantage. But sanctions from United States and European Union crippled the Russian currency, the Rouble.

Before 2014, Russians consumed copious amounts of European dairy products, cheese was one of the top favourites, especially the ones manufactured in Europe.

But the annexation of Crimea changed everything. In counter-sanctions, Vladimir Putin banned all European companies from selling their cheese in Russia. Setting off a crisis of cheese.

But that was until the Russian agricultural minister announced a 5-year plan. In which, generous tax cuts were offered. And that led to a cheese manufacturing boom.

Suddenly hundreds of creameries sprung up in the Russian countryside. Elvira Kovtun and her husband are college sweethearts. They first manufactured cheese at their home four years ago.

But now they have won the biggest prize in cheese manufacturing.

At the world cheese awards. The equivalent of the Oscars in the cheese world. The couple won the gold prize for their 'Peshernyi' hard cheese, the couple is now selling their award-winning Peshernyi cheese, which has a nutty and fruity taste. 

For 1800 Rouble or $30 per kilo. Last year alone, Russia manufactured 670,000 tonnes of cheese and became part of the international dairy federation.

This was even as France and Italy churned out in excess of 1-2 billion tonnes of cheese in 2018.

Traditionally, France and Italy have dominated the international cheese market, but Russia is now set to give them a run for their money.

Story highlights

A silent cheese revolution is taking place in Russia. And it has been spurred by politics and war. When the Russian tanks rolled into Crimea in February 2014.