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Government in Russia destroys illegal imports

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Vladimir Putin’s latest show of defiance has used bulldozers, steamrollers and tractors to destroy hundreds of tons of illegal food imports, in televised spectacles that some Russians are calling absurd and grotesque.

In a country where millions starved in the 1930s, the Kremlin’s highly publicized enforcement of its year-old ban on European Union food imports is stirring protest among advocates of the poor and those with memories of Soviet-era shortages.

Since Putin’s August 6 decree ordering destruction of illegal food imports seized by customs inspectors, Russian state television has shown track-wheeled bulldozers driving over and crushing tons of fruits and vegetables and leaving the mashed garbage rotting in the summer sun.