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Supermarket Shelves in St. Petersburg Empty of Imported Goods

Published: August 15, 2014 (Issue # 1824)

  • Imported foods are being replaced by domestically-produced product as stocks run out.
    Photo: Net_Efekt / Flickr

A week after Russian authorities banned the import of certain types of products from the United States, EU, Canada, Australia and Norway, St. Petersburg supermarkets that stock a large share of imported goods are showing the impact the ban is having. Imported fish, meat and dairy products have all but disappeared, reports, with many of the products remaining on the shelves the last of the current stock. As the foreign goods run out, many stores have begun to expand the proportion of domestically-produced products.

Udderly Gone

Many supermarkets in St. Petersburg no longer have any dairy products remaining on their shelves from the Finnish company Valio, whose cheese and butter have been available in St. Petersburg shops since the Soviet era. At the Prisma supermarket on the Vyborg Schosse, local residents have been scrambling to buy as much as they can before it disappears completely.

"The excitement began last Thursday,” said a worker in the diary department at Prisma. “Valio products are the most sought but people are even buying things they wouldn’t have given a second glance before. Finnish cheese will soon be gone. Everything that we have is on the shelves with a bit left in the stockroom."

Valio products manufactured at the company’s facilities in Finland and Estonia will no longer be seen in supermarket cold cases, with the products made at company’s Gatchina and Ershovo locations hard pressed to fill the void.

"Naturally, the two plants are not enough and we will have to make up for the shortfall somehow,” said the unidentified Prisma employee.

Empty shelves were seen where, until recently, Norwegian Jarlsberg, Latvian Karums dairy desserts and Tere Estonian sour cream once stood.

At the Metro Cash and Carry on Kosygin Prospekt, which mainly serves small-scale wholesale buyers, empty shelves remained where a week earlier Baltais sour cream from Latvia and puddings from the Swiss company Nestle, which has 11 Russia factories, could be found. Metro was also out of Italian Parmesan, Lithuanian Roxburgh, French Roquefort and Austrian blue cheeses. There was no Valio yogurt left among the few pots of Landlibe and Baltais product.

Shoppers have been snapping up Alterman cheese and Valio’s processed cheese, Viola. Cheese sold under the Finnish store-brand Pirkko has disappeared as well.

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Wednesday, Oct. 22

English teachers can expect to receive a few useful pointers today from Evgeny Kalashnikov, the British Council regional teacher, during the EFL Seminar this afternoon hosted by the British Book Center. The topic of today’s seminar is “Grammar Practice.”

Young Petersburgers will get the chance to jumpstart their careers at “Professional Growth,” a job fair and forum featuring more than 40 major Russian and international companies vying for potential candidates for future positions. The forum not only is a chance to network but also to learn more about the modern business world and to understand what it takes to get the job you want.

Thursday, Oct. 23

AmCham’s Public Relations Committee meeting is scheduled to meet this morning at 9 a.m. in their office in the New St. Isaac Office Center.

Sportsmen get their chance to stock up on all kinds of gear at the Hunting and Fishing 2014 exhibition starting today at Lenexpo. Everything from rods and reels to boats, motorcycles and equipment for underwater hunting will be on sale so that any avid outdoorsman can always be prepared.

Friday, Oct. 24

SPIBA’s ongoing “Breakfast with the Director” series continues today, featuring Tomas Hajek, Managing Director of the Northwest Division at Danone Russia. Hajek will be discussing collaborations between businesses from different cultures. The meeting is at 9 a.m. at the Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel and all who wish to attend must confirm their participation by Oct. 23.

Get your gong on at “Sounds of the Universe,” a concert at the city planetarium this evening incorporating six different gongs to create relaxing songs that will transport you upwards into the stratosphere. Tickets are 700 rubles ($17).

Saturday, Oct. 25

AVA Expo, the eighth edition of the event revolving around all things pop culture, returns to Lenexpo this weekend. Geeks, nerds, dweebs and dorks will have their chance to talk science fiction and explore a variety of international pop culture. Tickets for the event can be purchased on their website at

Sunday, Oct. 26

Zenit St. Petersburg returns home for the first time in nearly a month as they host Mordovia Saransk in a Russian Premier League game. Currently at the top of the league thanks to their undefeated start to the season, the northern club hopes to extend the gap between them and second-place CSKA Moscow and win the title for the first time in three years. Tickets are available at the stadium box office or on the club’s website.

Monday, Oct. 27

Today marks the end of the art exhibit “Neophobia” at the Erarta Museum. Artists Alexey Semichov and Andrei Kuzmin took a neo-modernist approach to represent the array of fears that are ever-present throughout our lives. Tickets are 200 rubles ($4.90).

Tuesday, Oct. 28

The Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel plays host to SPIBA’s Marketing and Communications Committee’s round table discussion on “Government Relations Practices in Russia” this morning. The discussion starts at 9:30 a.m. and participation must be confirmed by Oct. 24.

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