Russia’s incredibly bad excuses for why everything sucks after Vladimir Putin went to war with Ukraine

The Russian Ministry of Commerce has ruled that white copy paper is now dangerous to Russians’ health and must be avoided at all costs.

“We have learned that this type of glossy, white office paper is harmful to health,” Deputy Trade Minister Oleg Bocharov said, according to RIA Novosti.

“It turns out that paper with a rougher texture is easier on the eyes.”

The reality is much simpler: The sanctions imposed on Russia since Russian President Vladimir Putin started the war in Ukraine in February have meant papermakers go without bleach for paper. Usually, Russian manufacturers relied on imports from Finland.

But the war in Ukraine is turning Russia’s paper action plans on their head – especially as Russian officials have yet to officially concede that Russian forces are waging a full-fledged war and continue to claim they are not attacking Ukrainian cities. Russian government officials continue to tell Russians that their forces are simply part of a “military special operation” aimed at demilitarizing Ukraine. And the Russian government is struggling to find a way to explain away the changes in paper quality.

Pulp and paper mills in Svetlogorsk, Kondopoga and Turin have already started successfully producing paper without using bleach due to the sanctions, RIA Novosti reported.

It’s not the first time the Russians have had to falsify the record in recent days due to post-invasion fighting.

McDonald’s left Russia in May after Putin’s decision to launch the offensive in Ukraine. While Russia’s replacement for McDonald’s has been up and running for weeks, the new chain, dubbed Delicious, Full Stop, announced just this week that it can no longer always serve french fries – partly due to a poor Russian harvest last year and partly due to post-invasion supply chain problems that have hampered potato imports, according to RBC.

Last year was “a lean year for potato varieties” in Russia, the company said, RBC reported.

“There are certain problems,” said a member of the State Duma’s agricultural committee, Sergei Lisovsky. “McDonald’s and everyone who sold these fries forced them to use imported varieties, although there are our regular Russian varieties too.”

But the imported strains don’t seem to help that much in some cases.

There are many problems with potatoes in Russia because of Putin’s decision to wage war in Ukraine. McCain Foods, the world’s largest maker of French fries, stopped shipping all of its products to Russia after Putin invaded Ukraine. McCain Foods, a Canadian company, also announced that it is halting construction of its manufacturing facility in Tula Oblast, Russia.

Since the invasion, the wannabe McDonald’s has also had trouble importing potatoes from usual suppliers in Belgium and Poland, according to RTVI.

But Russia’s Ministry of Agriculture hits back with “Yum, period,” saying it’s all just a hunky dory.

“We have potatoes, period,” the ministry said on Telegram. “The Russian market is fully supplied with potatoes.”

The automotive industry is also feeling the pressure of the sanctions. Popular Russian automaker Avtovaz was forced to halt production of some cars earlier this year after being unable to adequately supply production with certain parts due to foreign sanctions, NBC News reported. But this time, the Russians made little attempt to justify the problem.

Instead of producing cars with the right parts, they chose to just pump out cars without important safety mechanisms. The company decided to restart production and now produces cars without safety features such as airbags, anti-lock brakes and emergency retractors on seat belts.

The excuses go on and on. Russia usually hosts a splashy version of Davos called the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF). But this year, Russian pundits and officials gathered for the confab, not to boost investment in Russia, which is usually the focus, but to bemoan sanctions at a significantly watered-down, underperforming conference. Notable guests included Russian allies such as Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko. The honorary delegation came from Egypt.

Russian officials could hardly admit that the war was taking place at panels designed to address the poor economic conditions in Russia resulting from the conflict. Instead of addressing the war head-on, they sidestepped the issue in event descriptions by suggesting that there were “new conditions” affecting the economy.

The government statement? That it is difficult to come to Russia. “It is difficult to get to St. Petersburg for objective reasons,” said one of Putin’s foreign policy advisers. Russia’s incredibly bad excuses for why everything sucks after Vladimir Putin went to war with Ukraine


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