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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 8/13/20

It is Time to Boycott Russian Products

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Russia is murdering and maiming American soldiers in Afghanistan by paying a bounty on U.S soldiers killed by the Taliban. Russian is also interfering in our elections, both in 2016 and 2020, intervening in the Syrian civil war, invading the Ukraine and interfering with European elections. Why are Americans and Europeans still buying Russian caviar and vodka, oil, gas and steel? Why hasn't Congress or the President taken any action against Putin's expansionist regime?

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2019, U.S. imports from Russia totaled 22.28 billion dollars, a gain of 50% from the end of the Obama administration. We have a trade deficit with Putin's country of $14 billion. Over $1 billion of this trade was in iron and steel, two industries that pollute the Russian countryside and beyond. Caviar imports from Russia were about $700 million last year.

American Vodka and Caviar

The United States produces some of the finest vodka in the world, including Smirnoff's and Tito's. Russian Standard Vodka is owned by the Russian government, but can be found on thousands of liquor store shelves across the country. Additionally, the U.S. also now produces world-class caviar.

The Robb Report, a high-end consumer magazine, proclaims that

"From Eric Ripert to Daniel Boulud to Dan Barber to Thomas Keller, when America's best chefs want premium seafood, especially caviar, they go to Browne Trading Company." Browne Trading Company sells American caviar to well-healed restaurants and clubs. Snake River Royal White Sturgeon Caviar,North American Caviar Company and the American Caviar company also produce world-class caviar in the United States.

Sturgeon AquaFarms in Bascom, Florida is one of the largest sources of beluga caviar in the world and the only one in the United States.Mark Zaslavsky, a Russian immigrant, brought his beluga fish to the United States. His farm is the only U.S.-based company legally allowed to breed beluga.

Russian Iron and Steel

The Keystone KL pipeline runs from Alberta, Canada to refineries in Illinois and Texas\. In 2015, the controversial Keystone XL pipeline was temporarily halted by President Barack Obama because of potential environmental damage. However, on January 24, 2017, just four days after his inauguration, President Donald Trump reversed Obama's action to permit the pipeline's completion. Trump proclaimed that it would be built with American steel, but it wasn't.

According to Bloomberg.com, Russian company Evraz manufactured about one quarter of the steel pipe used for the Keystone XL project in Russia. Most of the other pipe was made in Canada.Evraz is owned Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, who is a close ally of Putin and a Trump family friend. Roman Abramovich's wife Dasha Zhukova is a friend of Ivanka Trump and reportedly attended Trump's inauguration as her guest.Evraz has also actively lobbied against U.S. laws that mandate that Keystone XL's steel pipe be made in the U.S.

Let the Boycott Begin

We don't need Russian vodka, caviar or steel. However, we need to teach Russia a lesson: don't mess with the United States. Don't interfere with our elections. Don't intervene in European elections. Don't invade sovereign nations like the Ukraine. We should coordinate the boycott with our European and other allies. Europe is reliant on Russian gas and oil, but the United States can supply Europe with all the fossil fuels that it needs. The United States is now the world's largest source for oil and gas.

Russia needs to sell the western world oil, steel and other products to prop up its flailing economy. With Russia's economy weak, a boycott of Russian products by the United States, Europe and other nations will make the Russian bear flounder.

 

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Chairman, Made in the USA Foundation, economist and lawyer, author of ten books and hundreds of articles.
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