Ordinary Russians from Kaliningrad to Vladivostok have always been glad to spend their Russian rubles in exchange for quality Belarusian products. Even Russian governors repeatedly told the CTV Channel about their love for Belarusian foodstuffs.
Tamara Mukhina, resident of Smolensk (Russia):
I buy a yogurt produced by the Vitebsk dairy plant. Sometime in 1967, I studied at the college of dairy industry and had an internship at the Vitebsk plant, the old one.
The Smolensk native even wrote a thesis on the construction of a new dairy plant in Vitebsk. So she knows definitely how to assess the quality of cheese, yogurt and cottage cheese from Belarus. Tamara, like many Russians, cannot even imagine who increasingly criticizes Belarusian fresh milk saying that it has gone sour.
I can't judge about political discords, but I think these are some obstacles, perhaps, for supplies of Belarusian products to us, to Smolensk.
We, Smolensk residents, of course, will be displeased. Because we appreciate Belarusian products very much. The fact is that these products are of high quality, apparently, Belarus has different approaches to production. I myself buy only Belarusian dairy produce.
Sergey Protasov, resident of Smolensk (Russia):
I always buy Belarusian milk. Everything of high quality, good. Although on TV, I sometimes hear that it is allegedly of bad quality. In the news, on the Internet. But I think it's all said on purpose. Because literally in a week or two or three, these issues are resolved. And immediately everyone says everything is OK.
Entrepreneurs also buy a lot of Belarusian goods for resale. Alexei started his business with cooperation with a Belarusian meat-packing plant in 2007. Monthly Smolensk small shops get
hundreds of tons of poultry meat and sausage products from his warehouse. But prohibitions, according to Alexei, strongly hit the pockets of Russian small businesses.
Alexei Bolshakov, director of a wholesale food base (Russia):
Now we understand that this is temporary, but still unpleasant. Of course, we have losses. And these losses are very large. In fact, these products are in demand in the Smolensk region, thanks to consistently good quality and low price.
Products under the brand "Made in Belarus" can be found in Smolensk's small shops and large hypermarkets. Locals know milk, sausages, fresh meat, chocolate and bread from Belarus the best.
Anastasia But, CTV:
Belarusian producers do not even need to shell out for advertising. One such poster is enough. And even this one is financed by the sales network.
For Russians, Belarusian products is a priori a synonym of quality. And trade outlets often earn thanks to this. But Rospotrebnadzor watchdog agency also plays its games, and the rules of these strange games are known only to them. The losers are not only Belarusians, but many ordinary Russian buyers, too.